Carbonnade Flamande

Flemish beef stew, or carbonnades flamandes, is the national dish of Belgium. Hearty and satisfying, this recipe takes less than two hours to prepare, and is nice enough to serve for a sit-down family meal. Add a crisp green salad, roasted potatoes, and a bottle of wine for a spectacular feast worthy of an upscale auberge du terroir on a chilly evening.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 65 minutes

  • 2 pounds beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups sliced onions (4 medium)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 12-oz bottle dark beer
  • 1/4 cup -1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  1. In a large bowl, toss together the beef, flour, salt, and pepper. In a large saucepan over high heat, brown the beef in the canola oil and butter. Carefully watch the beef to make sure it doesn’t burn, but give it enough time to develop a nice, rich brown color – the caramelized sugars will greatly enhance the stew’s flavor.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, brown sugar, and herbs to the beef and stir thoroughly. The onions will pick up a bit of the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the beer and add enough beef stock to cover the beef in the pan. Cover the stew, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 ½ hour, until the beef is tender. 
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar.
Makes 6 servings

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