Hurricanes and Nor'Easters along with traveling to Virginia for Thanksgiving seem to be all behind me now... I'm back and hope to regain a regular weekly Dorie recipe schedule.
As a child I was subjected to "food torture" tricked into eating tripe, sweet breads, and calf's brain... to name a few of the delicacies my grandparents forced upon me in the name of food heritage. So the thought of making beef cheeks for my family was wholly unappealing... I bought beef chuck.
When I told my kids what was supposed to be in the stew their reaction surprised me. My 11 year old daughter said, "Well, they might be delicious, especially after they have cooked for a long time in wine." She is probably right, as it dawned on me that I wasn't protecting them from anything, I was avoiding dealing with my own food phobias.
When I first tasted the stew I did think it needed a top note, so I grated a little orange zest into it. This really brightened the dish without being over powering. The other things I did a little differently than Dorie instructed was I deglazed the pan with 1/4 cup of the wine after I braised the beef. Then I poured the reduction over the beef. I also used a plastic spatula, not a wooden spoon, to scrap the pan. I think it removes more fond easier and prevents burning.
As for the end result... superb. My husband commented on how rich and earthy the sauce was, and my kids both loved eating it over pasta instead of with bread the way we typically eat stew. I loved the velvet sauce and the subtlety of the flavor. Dorie was right, the chocolate wasn't over pronounced. Truly a classic stick to your bones comfort stew.
Here is a similar Beef Daube recipe from Dorie.
Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review.