Food & Drink

Southern Classic: Daube Glacé

Daube glacé is a labor-intensive dish, best reserved for special occasions


While country ham and salami are hardly foreign to New Orleans these days, they were rarities in the along the Gulf Coast two centuries ago. “We can’t hang meats outside here. They rot,” says Isaac Toups, who runs the kitchen at Toups’ Meatery. In the years before the advent of refrigeration, locals had to find other ways to keep the pantry stocked.

As Toups tells it, one of the best-known snacks of old New Orleans owes its existence to just those circumstances. “As any chef knows, when you reduce a stock down to a glace, it lasts longer,” he says. Daube is a nourishing beef and vegetable stew with French roots. When Creole cooks simmered the leftovers into a sliceable, shelf-stable concentrate, they inadvertently created daube glacé, a meaty aspic most often consumed on crackers and mayonnaise-slicked po’boys. “People used to rehydrate the glace into soup,” Toups says. “One day, somebody hungry must have cut off a slice and been like, ‘Hey, this is good!’”

Nowadays, many cooks in New Orleans make daube glacé using reliable store-bought gelatin, rather than the gelatins already present in beef stock and in pigs’ feet—an extra ingredient in some vintage recipes. Others have abandoned the dish altogether. Toups, however, doubts it will ever vanish. “I think it will probably stay endangered,” he says. “But there will always be people down here saying, ‘Let’s try these old-school classics.’”

Daube glacé is a labor-intensive dish, best reserved for special occasions. If you’re in New Orleans, you don’t have to make it yourself: Langenstein’s grocery store offers a fine version. And so does Toups’ Meatery, as a recurring special. Toups and his cooks make it the old-fashioned way, reducing stock until it becomes a gelatin setting for herbs, vegetables, and hunks of tender beef. If you’re looking for a show-stopping holiday centerpiece, start simmering a pot of bones—or better yet, gelatin-rich feet—now.


Ingredients

    • 5 quarts beef stock, preferably beef foot stock

    • 2 1/2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes

    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    • Peanut oil

    • 2 cups finely diced onions

    • 1 cup finely diced carrots

    • 1 cup finely diced celery

    • 1/2 cup diced garlic

    • 1/4 cup tomato paste

    • 1/4 cup roughly chopped green onion

    • 1 tbsp. picked and roughly chopped rosemary

    • 3 tbsp. roughly chopped thyme leaves

    • 2 cups red wine


Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Place stock over medium-high heat.

  3. Meanwhile, season beef generously with salt and black pepper. Drizzle it with peanut oil, and toss it to coat. Roast it on a sheet tray for about 30 minutes or until dark brown, stirring occasionally.

  4. Once stock is reduced by half, add beef.

  5. In a separate saucepan, over medium heat, sweat onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a little bit of peanut oil until the onion just begins to brown. Add tomato paste and cook for 10 more minutes. Add red wine and reduce until it is almost evaporated. Remove vegetables from heat and reserve.

  6. When the beef is tender and the stock is thick, after several hours, test the stew by placing a small amount in the refrigerator. If it gelatinizes, proceed to the next step. If not, continue to reduce and test the stock.

  7. Add the vegetables, the herb and green onion mix, and the red wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Remember, the seasoning will be less pronounced when the daube glacé is cold.)

  8. Pour the beef mixture into a four-quart casserole dish or other loaf mold, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit overnight before slicing and serving.

Recipe from Isaac Toups of Toups’ Meatery in New Orleans, Louisiana.


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