A recipe for Carbonnade Flamande (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew) for Sunday Supper’s Warming Trends! This rich sweet and sour stew is packed with beef, bacon, caramelized onions, beer, and fresh herbs.
Today, Sunday Supper is getting together with a group of recipes featuring Warming Trends: Soups, Stews, Warm Desserts, and Drinks! I am sharing one of my new favorite stews, Carbonnade Flamande (Carbonnade à la Flamande, Vlaamse Stoverij).
Carbonnade Flamande (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew)
Carbonnade Flamande is a Flemish beef stew seasoned with Belgian abbey-style beer, beef stock, caramelized onions, and fresh herbs. The combination of spices and beer give it a wonderfully warming sweet and sour flavor. The stew is traditionally served with fries or slices of bread.
The type of beer you use is important to get the right flavor. Try to find Brown Leffe, Westmalle Trappist Dubbel, Oud Bruin (Old Brown/Flanders Brown), Ommegang Abbey Ale, Sint Bernardus Abt 12, Chimay, or Flanders Red. I used Chimay Grande Reserve from the local market. If you are unable to find a Belgian ale, some have recommended Newcastle Brown Ale or Anchor Steam (I have not personally tried this).
Don’t rush browning the pieces of beef first or cooking the onions. This adds so much to the overall flavor. The onions should caramelize over low to medium-low heat until deeply golden before adding the rest of the ingredients. If you want the stew a little thicker, allow it to simmer for closer to 2 hours before serving.
I fully planned to make my own Belgian-style fries, but discovered I had run out of oil last minute and went with some frozen ones I had on hand. To be completely authentic, serve the Carbonnade Flamande with double-fried fries (you can fry once ahead of time, dry, then fry again right before serving). Martha Stewart has a recipe for Belgian Frites on her site.
Looking for more ways to use beer?
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Carbonnade Flamande (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew) Recipe
Adapted from Saveur
Carbonnade Flamande (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew)
- 2 pounds beef chuck cut into 2 x 1/2 inch thick slices
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 4 slices bacon finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 3 medium yellow onions thinly sliced
- 2 cups Belgian abbey-style beer divided
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- Fries or bread for serving
- Place the beef pieces in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and toss to coat thoroughly.
- In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat. Working in two batches to keep them from overcrowding, add the coated beef pieces and cook to brown all the sides, about 8 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining beef. Remove to the plate and set aside.
- Add the chopped bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and the fat renders, another 8 minutes.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then the garlic and onions. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden color and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
- Increase heat back to medium high and pour 1 cup of the beer into the pot, scraping the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits, and cook until it reduces slightly. Add the beef, remaining 1 cup beer, beef stock, sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Discard any stems from the herbs and the bay leaf.
- Serve hot with the fries or bread.