One of the best ways to embrace the cool weather is to cook a great, braised, one-pot meal like Carbonade Flamande.
Carbonade Flamande is a classic dish found throughout Belgium. Many different recipes can be found and most restaurants have their own twist of this dish. Some recipes I have seen call for marinating the beef in beer for three days. I have not found this to be necessary but using the proper beer is a must. Look for a Flemish Brown Ale and if this can’t be found use Dark Belgian Ale. Whatever you choose don’t use an overly-hopped American Ale as this will wreck the meal.
This adaptive recipe is easy to do and your friends and family will surely be pleased. Your home will be filled with the scents of braised goodness coming from your oven.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound onions, sliced
- 2 pounds lean beef, shoulder or round, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 5 Ginger Snap cookies, crushed to a fine powder
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups Flemish Brown Ale
- 1 cup beef stock
- Salt and pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs, crumbled (thyme, rosemary, sage)
Prep and Braise Method
In a heavy pot add butter. When butter is hot stir in onions and sauté until caramelized. Remove the onions from the pot and set aside. If needed add additional butter and oil to the pot and begin to brown the beef slices removing as slices become brown. Set aside the beef slices.
In the same pot, add enough butter so that the butter/oil in the pot equals roughly three tablespoons. Add flour and whisk to incorporate well. In a few minutes a roux will have formed. Now stir in mustard, crushed ginger snaps, and add Ale slowly to deglaze the pan. Add beef stock and season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a slow boil. Remove from pot and set aside.
Layer the pot with the meat and onions, making three layers of meat, sandwiching two layers of onions. Add a bay leaf and a teaspoon of mixed herbs on each layer of onions. Pour beef sauce back into the casserole. Add more Ale to cover the meat if necessary. Bring casserole to a slow boil, cover and braise in a 300-degree oven for three hours. Skim off fat, season with salt and pepper and serve.
Serve with a great Belgian Brown Ale or perhaps a Belgian Abbey Double and some crusty bread.