Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Assemble the herb bouquet listed above.

In a 2 1/2-quart casserole, brown the beef in a mixture of olive oil and butter. While the beef is browning, measure out the brandy and set in front of the oven vent to warm.

Turn the heat down low under the meat. Pour the brandy over the browned meat and set it alight with a match. Be careful not to singe your eyebrows. Stir meat around in the flaming brandy until the flames die out.

Add the red wine; let it bubble fast for half a minute. Add salt, pepper, and herb bouquet. Cover the pan with a layer of foil and the lid.

Cook in oven for about 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours (75 to 105 minutes).

Prepare Homemade Croutons for baking, heart-shaped ones if you are feeling ambitious. Place in oven with the beef and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove the herb bouquet. Add rinsed and stoned black olives. Heat and cook about another 15 minutes. Modern stewing beef seems to require a lot less time to cook, so take care not to overcook.

Serve the beef stew over noodles with the croutons as a garnish.

Serves 4 to 5

Elizabeth David, French Provincial Cooking, 1969

Serving this dish over noodles is Nichola’s idea. The original recipe suggested just croutons.

Could be translated as Camargue or French Cowboy Stew, albeit a refined one.