Traditional Flemish Carbonnade is a beef stew, cooked in beer with a caramelized onion broth. This is a classic recipe that highlights why one should cook with beer over wine or other spirits. By taking the local ingredients from the Northwest and adapting them with the same cooking technique created by the Belgians, the resulting dish captures the essence of the classic while warming the soul on the cold Fall | Winter nights.
Serves: 4 – 6 people as an entrée
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Northwest Styled Carbonnade
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A Belgian style carbonnade dish made with Pacific Northwest ingredients.
Start this recipe by placing a Dutch-oven over a medium flame and melting the butter and oil together. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and pepper, then add the meat and toss the cubes well to fully coat on all sides. Add the cubes of meat to the butter in two batches (not to crowd the meat and steam it instead of browning it), browning the meat on all sides, about 6 - 8 minutes a batch. Preheat the oven to 300°F | 149°C.
As the meat is cooking, slice and prep the shallots, garlic and onions. Once the meat is all cooked, add the prepped onions, bay leaves, thyme and deglaze the pan with the beer of choice. Each brew will add a unique flavor to the final dish. Add the stock and mushrooms, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat, seal with a lid and place into the center of the oven. Cook this stew for 4 - 5 hours. The stew is done with the meat is almost falling apart at the touch, but still holds its shape when pressed and the onions are a deep caramelized brown color. Remove from the oven. This may be served immediately or chilled and served the following day (for some reason it does get better by sitting overnight).
Just before service, to add a yin yang to the dishes flavor profile, stir in the malt vinegar, to balance out the sweetness of the onions. This dish may be served in bowls alone, over mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles, boiled potatoes, risotto or as in Belgium with Pomme Frites.