The days are getting shorter and there’s a distinct nip in the air folks. Yes, that’s right, like it or not, the summer is now long gone and autumn is well and truly upon us. The good news is that that’s all the excuse you need to start tucking into some delicious wintery fare and to wash it down with a nice chewy red or two. So, in celebration, we’d like to share with you what is quite simply the best beef stew we know.
Carbonnades Flamandes is a classic Belgian dish: beef slow cooked in beer. It’s a heart-warming, comforting meal that never disappoints. Where did we have it, you’re asking. Are we about to review a smart new Belgian brassserie in South Kensington? A local bistro in Brussels? Not at all. You see, it’s not all glamorous nights out for us here at The Guide. More often than not, you’ll find us at home cooking our own meals. So today, in a first for the site, we’re going to share one of our recipes with you.
Here’s your shopping list for four people (allowing for second helpings):
1kg of stewing steak
- 3 large onions (chopped)
- 2 large carrots (finely diced)
- 2 stalks of celery (finely diced)
- a couple of bottles of good Belgian ale
- fresh thyme (6-7 sprigs)
- a couple of bay leafs
- a couple of garlic cloves (smashed)
- olive oil
- regular flour
So? Where do we start?
First, cut the beef into square pieces of about 2-3 inches each and dust them well with seasoned flour.
- Melt some butter (how much? We don’t think you can ever have enough butter…) in a big Le Creuset, adding a little olive oil to it.
- Sauté the beef in batches until brown, setting aside in a bowl as you go.
- Once all the beef is browned, cook the carrots, celery and onions in the same dish. Stir often. Once the onion is golden, you’re done.
- Now, return the beef to the pan. Add the thyme, a bay leaf or two, the garlic and enough beer to cover the meat.
Which beer? Well, for true authenticity you should use a Belgian ale of course. We’re partial to Leffe Brune or Chimay Blue. But the great thing about this dish is how much you can alter the result by using different beer. Experiment.
- The rest is easy: stir well, bring to a boil and then simmer either over a very low heat or – better in our view – in the oven for a couple of hours. The slower and longer the better.
- Serve with mashed potatoes or parseley-buttered new potatoes.
- Ignore any fool who tell you it needs a couple of table spoons of brown sugar or wine vinegar. It doesn’t.
What wine to serve with carbonnades? It’s a big hearty dish and so we like to pair it with a big hearty red. We’re fans of Californian Zinfandel. Until we can get our favourite Zin from Ridge Vinyards at more reasonable prices here in the UK, we’ll keep drinking Ravenswood.
Cheers! Bon appetit!
The best carbonnades Flamandes in the world
The days are getting shorter and there’s a distinct nip in the air folks. Yes, that’s right, like it or not, the summer is now long gone and autumn is well and truly upon us. The good news is that that’s all the excuse you need to start tucking into some delicious wintery fare and [...]
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