Ingredients for 4 servings
1 kg beef – Traditionally, the Gardiane is made with meat from the bulls of the Camargue. Look for lean but streaked meat taken from the neck, cheek, flank...
2 bay leaves
2 branches of thyme
1 piece of dried orange skin
salt, pepper and vinegar (for the marinade)
1 clove of garlic (set aside for the next day)
1 bottle of full-bodied wine (Corbières or Costières de Nîmes or Côtes du Rhône from the Gard, for example). If you use bull's meat, the choice of wine is important because bull is quite firm, strong in taste but not excessively so and full of flavour.
The day before:
Cut the meat into cubes, coarsely chop the onions and cover all in the red wine.
Drizzle with vinegar, add the thyme, the bay leaves (torn to let the aroma out) and the orange skin. Let marinate in the refrigerator overnight. (Save the clove of garlic for the next day.)
The next day:
Remove the meat and strain the marinade. Brown the meat in a pan with some olive oil.
Once all the meat is browned put it in a casserole (it is best to use an earthenware crockpot and not a metal one).
Deglaze the pan with the strained marinade and, when still hot, pour over the meat.
The deglazing is important and should be done carefully because the cooked juice is indispensable to the taste of your Gardiane.
Add the the raw onions from the marinade, the thyme, the bay leaf, orange peel, salt and pepper and the clove of garlic, chopped.
Make sure the liquid covers the meat and, if necessary, add water; additional wine will not give the dish any more flavour.
Let the gardiane de taureau simmer 2½ to 3 hours in the crock pot, checking from time to time, and remember that the dish will never be overcooked. Make sure that the juice does not evaporate.
If in a hurry, cook in a pressure cooker for 1 hour. In this case, it is preferable to do it the day before and finish cooking the next day.
When the gardiane de taureau has finished cooking, make sure the onions and garlic have softened into a purée. If not, remove them from the pot and purée in a blender. If the sauce is too liquid, thicken it with a little bit of flour or corn starch, or as a Camargue grandma would do, finely grate very dry bread into the sauce. Bring back to a boil to thicken the sauce.
Serve hot (and on warmed plates!) with Camargue rice.