Sunday, July 12, 2015

Carbonade of Beef

This rich beef stew is a traditional Belgian dish that you'll find on the hob at most decent pubs around Brussels and similar towns.  It's a great complement to the hundreds of different Belgian beers one is wont to imbibe when traveling through Europe's unofficial capitol.  Yes, Belgium is a beer mecca even more than Germany or the Czech Republic.  I've been to some pubs in Belgium offering in excess of 700 distinct beers.

With so much liquid refreshment to try, you'll probably want to put a little something on your stomach.  This dish works quite well, particularly since its made with some of said beer.

Carbonade of Beef

1-2 Pounds Beef, Cubed (Chuck or Round)
1/4 Cup Flour
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 Large Onion, Diced
4-5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Bottle Dark Beer (Belgian Style Oud Bruin or Flanders Red, if possible)
2 Cups Beef Stock
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
A Few Sprigs Thyme
Bay Leaf

Use a nice quality piece of beef.  I'm using eye of round today as it is nice and lean yet still pretty flavorful.  Cube it up,

Then toss the cubes of beef in flour.  Melt the butter in a good-sized Dutch oven and sauté the beef cubes until nicely browned.

Reserve the beef

and add the diced onion to the butter/beef drippings in the pot and cook until translucent and somewhat caramelized, perhaps fifteen minutes or so over medium heat.

Add garlic about five minutes before the onions are done.

When the onions are perfect, add the beer

and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen browned bits.  As I mentioned above, this beef stew should really have a proper Belgian beer like an oud bruin or Flanders Red to make it authentic.  Today I was fresh out of Belgian beer, so I subbed the next best dark beer I could find, a Guinness.

This is okay, but really, don't be like me and instead plan ahead and find a decent liquor store and get a proper Belgian beer.

Anyhoo, add the beef stock and brown sugar.

Return the beef to the pot.

Next, add the vinegar.

Yes, I know I called for Red Wine vinegar in the ingredients list, but I was fresh out of that too, so I subbed Balsamic.  I'm really bastardizing this today, eh?

Add the fresh thyme and bay leaf.

Cover the pot with its lid and place in a 350˚F oven and let it cook away for at least an hour and half, two if possible.  Check the pot from time to time to make sure there is still some liquid in it.  Add more beef stock if it is running low.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme when dish is finished.

Serve this dish simply, with some good crusty bread or maybe some butter noodles, as we've done here.

And don't forget that beer to wash it down with!

Until next time,



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