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Estouffade Provençale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces lardons or lean bacon, sliced in 1/4 inch x 1 inch pieces
  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 1/2 pounds stew beef, trimmed of all visible fat
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 bouquet garni (oregano, thyme and bay leaf)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups unpitted black olives
  1. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy skillet on medium heat. Add the bacon, sliced onions, sliced fennel, and crushed garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the stew beef into about 2 ounce pieces, and trim off all visible fat. When the vegetables have softened, scoop them into the crockpot. Return the skillet to medium heat, and heat the last tablespoon of olive all. Add the beef to the skillet and brown on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and peper (little or no salt may be needed as the bacon and olives add quite a bit.)
  3. Stir in the flour and mix well to coat the meat. Transfer the meat to the crock pot.
  4. Thin the tomato concentrate paste with a little wine, then mix it all with the wine. Pour this on top of the meat, and stir everything together.
  5. Plunge the bouquet garni into the center of the meat. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low. Stir in the olives 30 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 servings.

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