Recipe: Daube and gravy

Posted on February 9, 2022 by Matthew Pickich, D.O.
Matthew Pickich, D.O.

Daube and gravy is a hearty and rich staple of Croatian cuisine.  data-lightbox='featured'
Daube and gravy is a hearty and rich staple of Croatian cuisine.

I was born and raised in Biloxi, Mississippi. My ancestry is largely Croatian, and there is a sizable Croatian population in my hometown. Croatian cuisine is known for being very similar to Italian cuisine, especially when considering they are on opposing sides of the Adriatic Sea.

Daube and gravy is a hearty and rich staple of Croatian cuisine. It is our take on the quintessential spaghetti and meatballs.


  • 2-3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch celery, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large cans whole tomatoes
  • 2 large cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Oregano to taste
  • Sweet basil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  • Boneless chuck roast or rump roast (I prefer chuck – the fatter the cut of meat, the better.)


This meal is prepared in two main steps. First, prepare the sauce; then add the meat. Each step takes three to four hours. Total cook time is six to eight hours.

For the sauce

Warm olive oil in a large soup/gumbo pot, and sauté onions, celery, green pepper and garlic until tender. Next, add whole tomatoes, and continue to stir until the mixture is almost dry. Add tomato sauce, sugar, oregano, sweet basil, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on low for three to four hours until everything is well-blended and the sauce comes to personal taste. You may add water at any point if the sauce becomes too thick.

For the meat

Prepare meat by cutting into 1-inch or larger cubes; think of the size of meatballs. Once the meat has been cut into appropriate cubes, brown on all sides to get the desired texture. Once the sauce has reached desired consistency and flavor, add the meat and all drippings from the pan used to sear the meat. Continue to cook on low heat until the meat is tender; this usually takes three to four hours. Make sure to keep stirring every 20 minutes to ensure the sauce does not burn on the bottom of the pot. The fat in the meat will render and begin to pool in spots on top of the sauce. Once mixed, this will create a rich and filling meal.

Once the meat has reached desired tenderness, take the sauce off the heat and allow it to cool to serving temperature. 

This is best served over the top of penne pasta – al denté of course – with a side salad and garlic bread. Ensure that you have plenty of parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the top, and salt and pepper to personal taste at the table.

Dobar Tek! (Enjoy your meal!)

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