Carbonnade Flamande with Beer Recipe

Don’t let the fancy name fool you -- carbonnade flamande is delicious comfort food that anyone, from a Belgium king to an average joe, would love.
Carbonnade flamande is beef stew with onions and -- in this case -- beer! It’s a traditional Belgian dish that is usually served with french fries. Despite the name, french fries are actually a native food to Belgium.
It’s believed that french fries were served to British soldiers in Belgium during World War I. The soldiers either thought they were in France due to the Belgians speaking french, or they named the potato dish after the language itself.
This dish is hearty enough on its own, but when served with french fries, or another potato dish, it’s practically the epitome of comfort food.
Carbonnade flamande is quite simple to make, but it’s unique flavors make it more than just your average stew. It’s often described as being sweet and sour because of the sugar and mustard added to it. These ingredients are added later in the cooking process which means that they stay bright and flavorful.

Why Add in Beer?

When used as a marinade, beer is extremely helpful in tenderizing meat. Its carbonation softens the meat, making it more receptive to other flavors. Beer is also a huge part of Belgian cuisine!
In any list of famous Belgian foods, beer, chocolate, and waffles are sure to be right at the top. So, beer added to this dish is quite natural. In fact, it’s often traditionally made with beer.

Carbonnade Flamande with Beer Recipe

This recipe is incredibly simple once you get started. After cooking the beef and putting everything into the dutch oven, all you have to do is sit back and let the stove do its thing.
Carbonnade flamande is delicious and sophisticated enough for family gatherings and dinner parties. Your friends and family will be impressed with the flavor, and you’ll feel good knowing that you didn’t have to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen to make it.
  • 3 lbs beef chuck
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 cups FRIO beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups beef stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

TIME: 3½ hours
Serves 6

Step 1
- Chop the beef into 1 inch chunks. Then, place them into a bowl or deep dish and pour in the beer, garlic, bay leaves, and some salt and pepper. Let the meat marinate in the fridge overnight, or for at least 2 hours.

Step 2
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a dutch oven. Dry the meat with a paper towel and brown each piece over high heat. Don’t forget to save the leftover marinade! Do this in batches, leaving at least an inch of space between each piece as they cook. Cook each piece for about 2-3 minutes per side.
Step 3
-  Take the meat out of the pot and melt another 1-2 tablespoons of butter in the dutch oven. Now, cook the onions until they’re soft and brown. This will take about 15 minutes. Next, add the flour to the onions and stir until the onions are evenly coated. Let this cook for another 2 minutes.
Step 4
- Add in the broth and stir until well combined. Then, add in the meat, leftover marinade, and thyme. Stir and bring to a simmer. Next, cover and let this cook for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender and can be broken apart with a fork.
Step 5
- At least 30 minutes before you take the carbonnade off the heat, add in the mustard, sugar, and parsley, as well as a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Then, stir, cover the pot, and continue cooking.
Step 6
- Taste the carbonnade and add in more salt and pepper if needed. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, then serve.
Garnish each serving with some fresh parsley or another garnish of your choice. You can serve your beer carbonnade flamande with french fries, skillet potatoes, mashed potatoes, a piece of bread, or anything you can think of that will help soak up that delicious sauce. Whichever way you choose to serve your stew, it’s sure to be a hit!
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