Alex Mackay's Daube de Beets & Chestnuts à la Provençale


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I’ve been working on this recipe for a long time. 

The idea is based on the classic beauty, Daube de bœuf à la Provençale, but this is entirely plant based and has developed its own identity in my kitchen.  If you like a gravy soaker beyond bread, soft polenta is delicious with this and the contrast in colour between bright yellow and deep purple is beautiful. Buy a bunch of beetroot for your recipe, most shops and supermarkets sell these now, the beetroot stalks and leaves are as delicious as the bulbs themselves. The beetroot sizes in the bunch vary, so cut them in half or in quarters to make them as as close as possible to the same so that they cook evenly. The beetroot daube is can be prepared days in advance and re-heated.

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From Delia's Food and Wine Workshop, recipe by Alex Mackay. Serves 4

  • method
  • Ingredients


1.  Get a large saucepan. Add the red wine, boil to reduce by two thirds and cook away the alcohol. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil. Whisk in the tomato concentrate.

2.  Add the beetroot, red onions, bayleaf and garlic. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to gentle simmer. Put a lid on the pan then simmer for 45 minutes or until the beetroot are tender. Add the chestnuts. Simmer for 5 minutes more.  

3.  Lift everything out onto a plate. Discard the bay leaf.

4.  Reduce the sauce by about a third until you have 400ml.  

5.  Mix the cornflour and water together. Whisk half of it into the sauce. Slowly bring to the boil. Boil for 30 seconds. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, if not add a little more of the cornflour mixture, bit by bit.

6.  Add the vegetables back to the sauce. Bring to the boil then take the pan off the heat. Season to taste with salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper. I like a lot of black pepper with this.

7.  Put any beetroot leaves you managed to rescue, the olives, orange zest and basil on top.1. 

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