beef and beer stew - carbonnade a la flamande
This is Belgian beef and beer stew. It's all about beer, beef and onions. Take your time browning the beef and cooking down the onions. It's totally worth it.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
- 4 lbs beef stew - chuck is nice for this
- 6 pieces bacon - good quality
- 3 large onions sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 3 cups belgian dark ale - look for a Dubbel like Chimay
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- Vegetable oil as required to brown the meat.
- Chicken stock as required to cover the beef.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium low to medium heat (you will need to find the browning sweet spot).
Add 2-3 Tbsp of oil to the dutch oven.
Working in batches brown the beef well. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. If you get a big puddle of liquid in your pan, it's overcrowded. You are boiling your beef. That's bad. It took 5 batches in a 6 quart dutch oven for 4 lbs of beef.
Dice the bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the dutch oven along with the leftover oil and goodness. Cook to render the fat and add the thinly sliced onions. Add a bit of salt and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Uncover and cook another 10 minutes. You are going for meltingly tender onions. Think French onion soup. It may take a little longer but it's worth it.
Add the crushed garlic and flour and cook another 2 minutes, stirring well.
Mix the mustard with a little beer to dissolve.
Add about 1/2 cup of the beer and scrape up any browned goodness on the bottom of the dutch oven.
Pour in the rest of the beer, along with the mustard, cider vinegar, brown sugar, bay and fresh thyme. Add a bit of fresh ground black pepper as well.
Return the beef to the pot along with any accumulated juices.
Add just enough chicken stock to cover the beef. You may not need any at all.
Add a good tsp of salt at this point, cover and place in a 325F oven for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Start checking at about 90 minutes. You are done when the beef is tender.
At this point adjust the salt to taste.
This is traditionally served with boiled new potatoes and carrots. I like it with a green salad to start and crusty bread.