Trim any large pieces of fat and gristle. Cut through the shiny bits of fat and gristle to stop them contracting when you seal the meat. Rub the meat with coarse salt and then sugar. Put the pieces on a bowl and refrigerate for at least six hours.
During the curing process, blood will come off the meat. If you are concerned about the sauce being too salty, you may discard this.
Pour over the wine to cover the meat. Return it to the refrigerator and leave at least 24 hours. Add the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme.
Strain the marinade. Heat the oil in a frying pan to smoking point.
Brown the pieces of meat as quickly as you can on both sides – it should take little more than a minute. Fry the garlic and herbs from the marinade. Transfer the meat to a clean pan. In the first pan, brown the onion, carrot and celery and add them to the pan with the meat.
Pour enough of the wine marinade into the pan to detach the sediment from it. Empty this liquid into a pan, add the rest of the marinade and bring to the boil.
Skim thoroughly. Take off the heat.
Sprinkle flour over the meat, mix it in well, first with your hands and then by tossing the meat in the pan. Over the past few years some chefs have hesitated before putting flour in a sauce, but in a dish of this kind it’s essential to the mouth feel, adding just the right amount of body.
Pour the simmering marinade over the meat, which should be completely immersed into the liquid. Add extra boiled wine or stock as necessary. Add pepper and any other flavourings. Simmer for one hour, uncovered to allow the flour took out and the sauce to gain some body.
For the second cooking, the texture of the sauce at this stage should be lightly thickened and glossy. Add as much of the remaining liquid, having brought it to boiling point, as is necessary to cover the meat again. Put a lid on the pan – foil will do if you don’t have one. Transfer the pan to a low 150 degrees, and let the daube cook without boiling for three hours.
To test whether the meat is done, prick it with a knife, turn the blade and extract it with a few fibres of meat. The knife should meet no resistance and come out clean.
Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.
Wine to accompany: Taltarni Heathcote Shiraz .
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