If you have the opportunity to buy and cook Camargue taureau (wild bull meat), do. The flavor is mild and earthy without being the least bit gamey. We bought the house-made Camarguaise sausage along with some fresh taureau for stewing from the Nayraval Boucherie et Charcuterie at 3 Rue Pasteur in Aigues Mortes. While the sausage contains some pork to keep it from being too dry, it is quite lean with the full flavor of taureau enhanced with some herbs. Grill at medium heat for about 6 minutes per side.
For a more involved yet worthwhile cooking experience you can try making a gardianne, a stew cooked in wine. This simple recipe cooks for 4 hours and is even better the next day. It combines the earthy flavor of the taureau meat with the fruitiness of red wine along with anchovies and four-spice for depth. Traditionally served with Camargue rice.
Based on the recipes Gardianne of taureau (wild bull) from the Camargue in Recipes from Provence by René Husson and Gardianne du manadier in the pamphlet given to us at the butcher shop.
1 ½ lb taureau stew meat, cut into 3 oz pieces
Flour for dusting taureau chunks
Oil for browning meat
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, crushed with the broad-side of a chef’s knife
2 bay leaves
½ t French four-spice (blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg)
1 t herbs of Provence
6 anchovy fillets, soaked in milk for 10 minutes, drained and rinsed
¾ bottle full bodied red wine, such as Cotes du Rhone
Salt and pepper to taste
Season the flour with salt and pepper to taste and dust the beef chunks. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the taureau chunks and brown on all sides. Best done in batches to prevent crowding. Remove from the pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Return the beef to the pan with the remaining ingredients – carrots, garlic, bay leaves, four-spice, herbs of Provence, anchovy and red wine. Cook at a gentle simmer over low heat for 3-4 hours until the meat is fork tender, or able to be “cut with a wooden spoon” as the René Husson recipe suggests. Correct the seasonings and serve with rice.