Not Quite Daube Provençal: Red Wine Braised Short Rib French-ish Beef Stew

Posted December 8, 2018 by Stephanie
red wine braised short ribs | i am a food blog

red wine braised short ribs | i am a food blog

Tomorrow is Mike’s birthday and with any luck, he’ll be having a great day, planned out for him by his wonderful wife, me! Really though, I’m kidding because I absolutely suck at planning out birthdays. I get mildly anxious (okay, a lot anxious) when I need to make decisions about things that I think are important. And birthdays are important! I mean, they’re a day to celebrate someone’s existence. And in this case, not just any someone, but my someone.

Usually I have it pretty easy because for the past couple of years we’ve been lucky enough to have coincidentally been in Tokyo for Mike’s birthdays. Planning a birthday in Japan is easy. All the food is amazing and even just walking around is fascinating. If you’re into whiskey, like Mike is, there are a plethora of whiskey places or little cocktail bars that are fun and celebratory. Plus, you should always eat noodles on your birthday and as we all know, Tokyo is full of ramen, so that’s easily sorted. Side note, do you guys eat noodles on your birthday? It’s a thing Mike and do – we always always eat noodles on our birthdays.

Anyway, tomorrow there’s definitely going to be some noodle eating, but I also wanted to make Mike a special pre-birthday meal, just because. I thought about it long and hard because it’s actually kind of hard cooking for Mike. He kind of likes everything but doesn’t really love anything. Okay, no, that’s a lie. He loves Chinese bbq pork, fried chicken, steak frites, sushi, and ramen. I made him steak frites a couple of years ago, but this year I wanted to kind of be nostalgic so I made him something that I tried to make him very early on in our relationship.

red wine braised short ribs | i am a food blog

red wine braised short ribs | i am a food blog

Our very first trip abroad together was to Europe. It was my first time and it was pretty magical. It was extra fun because Mike had been before and we managed to go to a couple of his favorite places, one of them being Nice, France. We went to this little bistro that served amazing daube (beef stew, if you, like me, have no idea what daube is). It was one of our favorite meals on our trip, partially because Mike talked it up before we got there and partially because it lived up to the hype. It was rich and deep, full of beefiness. They served it with your choice of ravioli, gnocchi, or spaghetti. I chose ravioli, but Mike got gnocchi.

So, being in an super nostalgic mood (birthdays always make me nostalgic) I thought I’d make daube with gnocchi. The thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve tried – the key word here is tried – to make daube. It was a very long time ago, basically before I even knew how to cook, let alone hold a knife properly. Nonetheless, I went all out and bought some super expensive organic groceries and attempted to make a French stew that I essentially knew nothing about. I had high hopes, but surprise, surprise, it didn’t turn out at all. Mike kindly told me he loved it, but I knew. I mean, I didn’t know how to make daube, but I knew how it was supposed to taste, and it wasn’t anything like what I made.

Sad thing is, years later and I still don’t know how to make daube. Really, I tried, but…well, let’s just say that this time around the stew tasted good, but again, it didn’t taste like daube. After a lot of post-cooking research and debriefing I know exactly what I did wrong. There’s a key step in making daube and if you skip out on it, you’ve made beef. Beef cooked in wine, but still, beef in wine. Anyway, this key step I missed out on is literally beef.in.wine. You need to marinate the beef, along with a bunch of aromatics, in wine for 24 hours. I don’t know what it does but it does something awesome and makes beef stew not just beef stew, but magical French beef stew.

red wine braised short ribs | i am a food blog

red wine braised short ribs | i am a food blog

So this time around, Mike, again, years later told me that my daube tasted good. Inside I was cringing because how did I manage to repeat a failed cooking experiment years apart, but I guess some things never change. Things like how much I love Mike and how I will never stop trying to impress him with my non-existent cooking skills.

Happiest of birthdays to you, boo. You are my most favorite person in the world and I love how we sometimes say the same thing at the exact same time, which either means: we spend too much time together and are disgustingly lovey, or we spend too much time together are and delightfully lovey. Either way, thank you for being you because I couldn’t imagine anyone else I’d rather adventure around the world with. I love you :)

PS – Next year, bbq pork, kay? I know how to make that one ;)

Birthday posts of years past, if you’re interested: here, here, and here.

Red Wine Braised Short Rib Stew Recipe
serves 2 generously

  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb boneless beef short ribs, cut into cubes
  • 1-2 tablespoons neutral oil, for the pan
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 leek, white parts only, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 small shallots, diced
  • 1/4 cup Nicoise olives, pitted
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 stalks flat leaf parsley
  • orange zest of half an orange
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup beef stock

Season the short ribs generously on all sides. Heat up the oil in a dutch oven or deep pan and sear the beef, in batches, if needed, over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion, leek, garlic, shallots, and olives to the pan and cook, stirring very occasionally, until deeply browned. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce by about half.

While the wine is reducing, wrap up the thyme, bay leaves, parsley, and orange zest in the green part of the leek and tie together. Add to the wine, along with the beef and any juices. Add the carrots and just enough beef stock to cover. Simmer for 2-3 hours or until the beef is very tender. Let rest overnight, then the next day, taste and season with salt and pepper.

Optional: before resting in the fridge overnight, carefully pick out the beef cubes and carrots. Strain the aromatics out of the sauce and pour the strained sauce over the beef and carrots.


  1. Mike says:

    actually it was really really good, you’re the best cook I know ❤️

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red wine braised short ribs | i am a food blog
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