One of my Dad’s favourite recipes is a Carbonnade a la Flamande, or Flemish Stew to us non-French speakers. I’m a huge fan of Belgian beer, so any excuse to have some in the house is music to my ears. This Flemish stew recipe makes the most of the beer which, when combined with caramelised onions, creates an unctuous gravy.
The method is simple, fry the onions and the beef, dump in everything else, and cook in a low oven for 2 hours. It’s that simple, but has a deceptively rich and delicious flavor.
This Flemish stew also makes a perfect lazy weeknight meal, just swap the oven for the slow cooker and enjoy when the only thing you want to do is crack open a beer and put your feet up.
This classic Flemish stew uses Belgian beer to slow cook beef in an unctuous beer gravy. Make it in the oven or the slow cooker.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion (diced)
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- Salt & Pepper
- 500 g stewing beef (diced (I recommend beef shin))
- 2 large carrots (diced)
- 1 bottle dark Belgian beer
- 150 ml beef stock
- 1 tbsp redcurrent jelly
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Heat the oven to 180C/170C fan
- Melt a tablespoon of butter and the oil in an ovenproof dish (one with a lid), add the onion and caramelise well, you want them to be turning a lovely golden brown.
- Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Return the pot to the heat and add the second tablespoon of butter. While that’s melting, dredge your beef in seasoned flour, then brown on all sides.
- Add the onions back to the pot, along with the carrots, beer, stock, redcurrant jelly, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar and herbs. Stir together and scrape the bottom of the pan well.
- Allow everything to come to a simmer, then clamp on the lid and pop into the oven. Cook for 2 hours.
- When it’s ready, the beef should be fall-apart tender and the sauce should be thick and lip smacking.
- Serve in big bowls with a side of skinny fries, in true Belgian style.
If making this in the slow cooker, follow steps 1 – 5, but instead of putting your casserole dish into the oven for 2 hours, transfer everything to a pre-heated slow cooker and cook on low for up to 8 hours.