Saveur Magazine Classic Recipes No. 61 – Carbonnade (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew)

Beef and Beer Stew

I had heard about this dish a log time ago.  My friend Kiana, who lives in Brussels, was always posting on Facebook that she was making it.  Initially, I thought she was talking about Carbonara, a.k.a, spaghetti carbonara.  Then, I humbly learned that not only was it not even close to carbonara, but the only thing similar is that it both has bacon in it, at least according to this recipe.

I was obviously intrigued about making this, and was quite pleased upon seeing it in the magazine.  This became a no-brainer, since the weather is quite accommodating here in Madrid at the moment.  This beef stew begs for rainy or snowy days and toasty evenings snuggled under a blankie.  This is the stuff of wood chalets and fire places my friends.  Unfortunately, I don’t have either.  But, I can imagine my friend Kiana and her gorgeous family eating it a-la-ski-lodge, in their pj’s all snuggled around their fire.  Dreamy!

Anyhow, I digress.  The stew is quite easy, and the ingredients readily available.  It is imperative that you use a nice dark beer, preferably Belgian.  I used Chimay Red Cap, in absence of any other type of Belgian beer here in Spain. Kiana recommended Rochefort……if you can find it, use it.  But, what I thought gave this dish such an elegant and nuanced flavor, was the tarragon.  Oh, my beating heart.  The sauce, well, it speaks for itself.  If you don’t make this, you’ll be sorry.  Really.  I’m that serious.

So, on to the ratings:

Overall Points:  8.9/10 – the most points yet!

Difficulty:  Easy to medium, just cause it takes a long time

Availability of ingredients:  Readily available, except maybe for the tarragon

2 lb beef chuck, cut into 2″ x 1/2″ thick slices

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup flour

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

4 slices bacon, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 cups Belgian – Style ale, like Ommengang Abbey Ale

1 cup beef stock

2 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 sprigs thyme

3 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs tarragon

1 bay leaf

Bread, for serving

Season beef with salt and pepper in a bowl; add flour and toss to coat.  Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Working in batches, add beef; cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate; set aside.  Add bacon; cook until its fat renders, about 8 minutes.  Add remaining butter, garlic, and onions; cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Add half the beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes.  Return beef to pot with remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Serve with bread.  Serves 4.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

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11 comments on “Saveur Magazine Classic Recipes No. 61 – Carbonnade (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew)

  1. Mad Dog says:

    Delicious – it has the look and texture of slow cooked oxtail, which I love :-)

    • expatchef says:

      You’re totally right, and the beef and tarragon gives it a totally different taste than the spanish oxtail that is braised in wine….really really good, I think you might love this dish actually!

  2. Marthafied says:

    Oh wow! That makes my mouth water! Hearty winter supper. Love it!

  3. Wonderful, I love dishes like this with big, deep flavours!

  4. Those ingredients are truly dreamy! That’s the sort of food I dream about when it comes to winter warmers too! I also love the pasta on the side, it reminds me of the späztle or (a very fine homemade fusili???) Either way, all gorgeous as usual.

    Enjoy your first cooking class with your students too, it’ll be amazing :)

    • expatchef says:

      Hiya Alice,
      I keep forgetting it’s summer for you all! Yeah, this is definitely a winter dish! And the pasta is calle Trofie, it is an Abruzzese Specialty, it’s lovely and yes, very similar to Spaetzle!
      The cooking class was great, albeit very, very long…..had a nice day with friends about Madrid relaxing!

  5. If I ate meat, I would be all over this delicious dish :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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