22 May 2011

22 May - St. Bobo; Daube de Beouf Provencale

Today is the feast of St. Beuvon of Provence - Bobo in English - also known as Bovus.

[As with Saint Troll, I was interested in the name, Bobo being the short form for bourgeois bohemian, a rather snide term usually said with a sniff: "..the sort of place that bobos flock to... the kind of feel-good status symbol that appeals to bobos..."]

Saint Beuvon was certainly not a bobo.  He was a 10th century gentleman skilled in the use of arms - a knight, if you will - who used his skills to combat Saracen pirates raiding along the Provencal coast.  Recall that the Islamic hordes were in control of Spain, north Africa, and Sicily, although by this time, they had been run out of mainland Italy.  From their bases on the Iberian peninsula, and the footholds they managed to acquire in southern France, they ravaged the Cote d'Azur, slaughtering those whom they could not carry off as slaves, stealing whatever treasures they could find, and bringing trade in the area almost to a standstill.

Beuvon is said to have led an armed force against La Garde-Freinet, a castle which had served as the base of operations for the raids on the surrounding countryside from the end of the 8th century.  With help from inside, he seized the castle and defeated the robbers.  Deprived of their stronghold, the raiders were chased out of Provence, and Beuvon is credited with bringing peace to the coast.

After this, he gave up the practice of arms and became a hermit, living in penance and contemplation.  Annually, he would make a pilgrimage to Rome, and it was on one of these pilgrimages in 985 that he fell ill and died in Voghera, a town near Pavia.

He is considered the patron of cattle, probably from a play on his name (Bovus, bovine, get it?), and is invoked against diseases in cattle.

[He might even be a good patron for the bobos]



This is best made with one day for marinating and one day for cooking (and some add a third day after cooking to cool, remove the fat from the surface, and either reheat or serve cold).

This recipe calls for 4 - 6 pounds of bottom round or chuck, rolled up and firmly tied, but you can substitute 3 - 4 pounds of stew beef.

DAY 1 - First make your marinade: In a large pot, put 1 cup of red wine (strong red wine, nothing light here), 2/3 cup of olive oil, 1 onion stuck with 2 cloves, 1 cut-up carrot, 1 teaspoon each of ground pepper, dried oregano, and dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary, and 1 bay leaf.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  Put the beef and 1 pig's foot (optional) in the marinade.  Either pour on enough red wine to cover the beef, or, if you choose not to, remember to turn the beef a few times while it is marinating.  Let stand in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

DAY 2 - At this point, some people prefer to remove the beef and strain the marinade before returning both to the pot; others don't.  To the meat and either strained or unstrained marinade, add 1/2 pound of salt pork, 6 - 8 carrots, 6 peeled garlic cloves, and about 2 teaspoons of salt.  If the marinade was strained, add another bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and 1 teaspoon of rosemary.  Cover the pot and simmer on top of the stove for 4 to 6 hours, or bake in a slow oven (300° F) for about 2-1/2 hours or an even slower oven (200° F) for 4 to 6 hours, or until the meat is tender.  Add either 8 Roma tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and chopped) or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (or both) and about 24 black (pitted) olives.  Cook for another 30 to 35 minutes.

If you are doing this in three days, allow the meat to cool. and put the pot in the refrigerator for another 12 - 24 hours.  Otherwise: cook 1 pound of macaroni or noodles; drain and set aside.  Skim off excess fat from the pot.  If using one cut of beef, remove meat to a platter and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing.  Slice the salt pork.  Garnish platter with the carrots and garlic cloves and any other vegetables you prefer.  Mix the macaroni with some of the sauce and serve with the meat; pass the rest of the liquid in a sauce-boat.  (If you used stew-beef, remove and cut up the salt pork; return it to the pot and ladle the whole beautiful mess over the noodles, either in one large platter or in individual servings).

DAY 3 (for those who can wait that long) - remove all fat that has risen to the top of the pot.  Either serve the meat cold with its jelly, or reheat the meat and liquid, and serve with noodles as above.