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,