When Only the Best Will Do – Vandele Farms

June 9th, 2011

Located on Cane Creek Road in Lake Lure is a farm run by the Crocker family.  Kathleen and Larry Crocker have been raising cows and pigs for many years.  Origninally they used the meat for their own consumption, but there was so much interest in what they were doing they began raising their animals for commercial consumption.  The meat from Vandele Farms is USDA approved, but most importantly, it is chemical, additive and antibiotic free.  Their beef is pastured and given a supplement of vegetarian, chemical free feed.  Take a look at their website and the gallery of pictures showing pigs frolicking in the fields.  There is something to be said for meat from animals who have been treated humanely.  I, for one, feel good about buying farm raised meat and supporting my local economy.

From that beautifully marbled beef chuck I made my Daube de Boeuf Provencale.  The long slow cooking rendered the beef tenderly delicious.   The origin of the word daube comes from the French name of the cooking vessel, a daubiere, in which the beef stew is cooked.  The vessel is shaped in such a way that it traps the moisture that is released in the cooking process and keeps the stew moist.  You can achieve the same results in any heavy covered casserole by placing a round of parchment paper over the beef mixture.

I have looked at many daube recipes.  The Provencal origin of the recipe dictates that it should include olives, but many of the recipes I saw do not include olives.  If you are an olive lover, do include them.  But be aware that they do impart their distinctive flavor to the dish.

I am flying to Anchorage, Alaska today to join David on his motorcycle trip.  I will post when I can.  The guys are going halibut fishing while in Homer, Alaska so I am hoping to get pictures of the catch and the preparation of the fish.  We will journey from Alaska to Vancouver, where I will meet up with  a fellow blogger.  I am excited to meet her.  Then it is on to Bend, Oregon where we will check out some of the wineries and enjoy the scenery before we girls fly home.  An adventure awaits!


3 lbs beef chuck, cut into cubes
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons brandy
5 tablespoons  olive oil, divided
2 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, grated
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (32 ounce) can whole tomatoes, with juices
12 green olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup white mushrooms
1/4 cup chanterelle mushrooms
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms
3 fresh parsley sprigs, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place beef, wine, brandy and 3 tablespoons oil in an airtight container and refregerate at least 2 hours (overnight is best).

In a large frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat; remove bacon and set aside, reserving drippings in pan.

Remove beef from marinade, reserving marinade, and blot dry.  Brown at medium heat in bacon drippings with 2 extra tablespoons of olive oil if needed in 3 to 4 batches.  Set beef aside on plate as browned.  Sweat onions, garlic and carrots in pan for 5 to 6 minutes.  Add browned beef, reserved beef marinade, bay leaf, thyme, tomatoes and olives.  Bring to a boil.  Cover with a round of parchment paper and the lid and place in a 350 degree oven.  Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

During the last 15 minutes of cooking, sear mushrooms in a separate frying pan over medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons oil.  When beef is complete, remove from oven and stir in mushrooms and parsley and season with salt and pepper.  Thicken with a slurry of flour and water if needed.

Printable recipe

10 responses to “When Only the Best Will Do – Vandele Farms”

  1. Barbara says:

    How fortunate to have a farm like that nearby, Penny! Your Daube De Boeuf looks divine!
    Have a wonderful trip!

  2. That sounds wonderful. I am going to check out that farm. Have fun on your trip and I will see you when you get home.
    p.s. give Honora a hug for me!

  3. Pondside says:

    That Daube sounds wonderful!
    I believe that meat from a farm where the animals are raised in a humane manner is better for us – and just plain better!

  4. Judy says:

    We are also fortunate here in Eastern North Carolina to have not one, but two farms that sell grass-fed meats at our local farmer’s market. I feel good eating it and I feel good buying it, though it is quite expensive.

  5. This is screaming to be our Sunday Supper – I think I have to give in!

  6. Big Dude says:

    Your dish look super good and I believe it’s great to support all things local. I suppose you’re long gone by now, so have a great trip and I’ll look forward to your blog posts about it.

  7. Donnie says:

    That looks delicious. Have a wonderful trip.

  8. Kat says:

    I was thinking it was about time for your trip. Have a great time, and I will look forward to the pics. The dish looks so yummy, was wishing I could taste it! I like good, clean meat too.

  9. Rita says:

    Thank you so much for helping me with my comment problems; Enjoy your trip, but please be safe. I too really try to shop and buy local. This recipe looks so good for this weekend;, and right now we are freezing in our little corner.

  10. nanadarla says:

    Have a great trip Penny- stay safe!

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.