Daub of Beef in the Last Chance Saloon.

Daub of Beef (3 of 10)The very mention of the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ brings up imagery of gnarled and grizzled old men leaning their heavy elbows on the greasy bar of despair as they reflect on wasted lives and opportunity forgone. Thankfully, I’m not one of those, at least not yet. There is a double whammy of last chance about this recipe all the same. But, that’s no reason to not cook it. (That was a double negative about a double whammy BTW.)

Whammy number one. That bottle of Chateau Petit Gravet, 2011, St. Emilion is my last bottle of the stuff. By the time you read this, it was my last bottle. I started buying it on trips to France over a decade ago and I enjoy the annual tasting ceremony when we arrive as much as I enjoy the wine.

Whammy number two. At this time of year, the garlic I bought in France last year starts to go off and sprout. I am reminded that I promised myself that I would plant some of it and reap the rewards. Just like every other year, I failed to do so.

There is an upside to these bodyblows. Rather than taking myself off to the long room for a few chasers, we plan to return to France later in the year to stock up on both garlic and wine, as you do. But, I digress. You want a recipe for a Daub of Beef. So, here you go…

There’s not a lot of ingredients but they pack a lot of flavour.


  • 3 large beef shin cuts, bone in.
  • 4 large onions
  • 100 grammes of chestnut mushrooms
  • 100 grammes of closed cap mushrooms
  • 500 ml of high quality beef stock
  • A tablespoon of tomato purée
  • Half a bottle of good Bordeaux or St. Emilion wine (or something punchy and decent from somewhere else)
  • 1 bulb of good quality garlic
  • A generous amount of fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to season

Cut a few slices through the tough outer membrane on the beef. This will stop the beef contracting and getting out of shape while it cooks. Heat a casserole dish (dutch oven) to medium hot. Brown the beef on both sides. Remove the beef and reserve.

Daub of Beef (2 of 10)

This has to be the most boring cooking shot I have ever shown.

Cut the onions into eights. Turn the heat down to medium/low. Sweat the onions down until they become translucent and have reduced in volume by about two thirds. While this is looking after itself (as it will), prepare the mushrooms and slice into quarters.

Daub of Beef (7 of 10)

The mushrooms present a better photo opportunity.

Prepare the garlic. It will only need to be peeled and cut in half to facilitate removing the green shoots. For the record, they add a bitter flavour. It will cook for a long time so don’t worry about them being too big.

Daub of Beef (4 of 10)

Last chance garlic. Note the removed centre stalks in the background.

Fry the mushrooms in a little butter. They will rapidly absorb the butter. They will reduce in volume by about three quarters and get nice and brown. They are cooked when they start to release the butter.

Daub of Beef (8 of 10)

It’s difficult to not pick at the mushrooms. Very tasty.

Add the mushrooms to the onions. Add the beef stock and the wine.

Daub of Beef (5 of 10)

There is a real pang when I pour in the last of this lovely wine.

Add the thyme and bay leaves. Add the garlic. Then layer in the beef, being sure to get each piece well covered in the delicious mixture.

Daub of Beef (6 of 10)

Enough to feed two from each piece of beef.

Bring the dish to a rolling boil and season with salt and pepper. It needs to boil to get the alcohol out of the wine. As this was my last bottle of Petit Gravet 2011, I didn’t console myself by drinking the other half of the bottle. That is oxymoronic in a way. I enjoyed the wine with the meal. Given that the dish has to go into a 160ºC oven for 5 hours, I enjoyed the wait too.

After about four hours, remove the lid from the casserole and let the sauce thicken. We want it really very thick, that makes for a daub rather than a stew. You may want to thicken it with a roux of butter and flour. Don’t let it be thin. This is your last chance.

Daub of Beef (10 of 10)

The dish doesn’t get much daubier than this. Note the marrow has moved out of the bone into the sauce.

This is the best possible way to use up the last of the wine and some of the last of the garlic. I served it with floury potatoes. It was delicious. If you have any wine left and don’t mind mind preparing the garlic, give it a go.

Side note on the ‘last of the 2011 Petit Gravet’: The excellent news is that the last time we were in France I splurged on a few bottles of the Petit Gravet ‘Marie Louise’ 2011. They haven’t featured here yet. That is a treat for later. That will keep me out of the last chance saloon for now….

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  • Omg, have not had this wonderful dish for a couple of decades !!!! now at a very enjoyable silver wedding party in the depths of the English countryside. 😉 But today my eyes were not only drawn to your dish, excellent as ever, but to your last bottle of 2011 Petit Gravet! Your heart must have been aching 😉

  • Hmm… Should work a treat on the ‘gravy beef’ I have in the freezer. Sadly, I will have to substitute something lively and unrepentantly Australian for both garlic and wine….

      • Its’ ‘Down Under’, Conor, as if you did not know! And if one knows the difference and is willing to pay the price, one need not use the poison of China or the picked-last-season Chilean garlic . . . tho’ both your French garlic and Irish beef cannot be equalled 🙂 !

  • I still have some beef shanks languishing in my freezer. They are marked as “soup bones” but I can tell you they are quite meaty and and much more fitting for a dish like this than to make soup out of them. My choice of red wine will have to suffice with what is available in my little PNW town, but the selections have been getting much better as of late. Beautiful meal, Conor!

  • I haven’t had this dish for ages. I remember the rich flavors, I am salivating. Well, I could make it and see if my husband has a good bottle of wine to go with it. He usually does.

  • Now that’s a dish that one could happily devour before entering The Last Chance Saloon. Months before my beloved life-loving, food-adoring, wine-quaffing uncle died, he stated that if this round of chemo didn’t work, he would be entering the saloon of which you speak. (We are fans of dark humour in our family.) This is the kind of dish that was right up his alley and I think I am going to cook it on the anniversary of his death and quaff the special NZ Pinot noir that he gave to me.

      • I will do Conor. Your story about your father reminds me of a very similar phrase my family uses: ‘that will see me out.’ I am sorry that was the case with your Dad. I love how blogging so often acts as a ‘memory jogger’ of special, sad and funny times.

  • If the Last Chance Saloon is anything like the average Aussie pub you’d have no hope of getting a delicious meal or a well structured bottle of red like these Conor. I’m longing for cooler days and slow cooked beef. X

  • That looks delicious 🙂

  • Salivating here, that looks luscious. When are you off back to Bordeaux?

      • You can always come to Suffolk! 🙂

        • Or California. 😉

  • That looks amazing! Could I dare replace the beef with a pork roast in this recipe or would that be a disaster? I just butchered a pig and have a freezer full or pork that I have to make a dent in…

  • Oh my goodness! How did you resist eating all those gorgeous, bronzed mushrooms? I’m drooling on my keyboard. 😉

    I have a couple of bottles of Syrah (Shiraz) looking for a good time. I wonder if one of them might work or if it is too big a wine. I might have to special order some lovely beef shanks too.

  • 5 hours in an oven = 5 bottles of wine. That’s what I read from this, anyway, so I’m just assuming I’m right. You can confirm this at your leisure.

  • hi Conor
    this is stefano + my first comment here
    it looks delicious, needless to say. But I have a question for u: have u ever cooked a stew or a braise using the sous vide? I am just curious to know it it a game changer also for “wet” dishes + I cook my stew or braises in the oven too, but much longer, because I keep my temp at about 100 C & I also generally add a couple of fillets of anchovies (in oil)(or even few tbsp of fish sauce) – somehow they do boost the meaty flavor. by for now, stefano

  • hi conor
    thanks…. I just checked and left a comment there. ciao s

  • Had never heard of daub, so have learned something new. Great dish. We’re going to Burgundy soon to stock up on wine.

    • nice trip! elizabeth david has lovely pages on French daubs, as well as the wonderful Richard Olney

  • This is now in my oven as I type this! I hope I do it justice. I had a couple of almost over-ripe tomatoes I wedged up and threw in there for good measure, too. 🙂

  • Another spectacular dish. I really like the bone marrow. (HEALTHY) I am a big fan of your delectable creations !! 🌸

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