Over the years I’ve come to appreciate a well done slow cooked meal. There’s just something about a warm, rich, & hearty meal on a chilly day that feels right.
My normal goto for this type of dish is beef short ribs but I recently found myself with a package of stewing beef that I had to get used up.
As fate would have it I had recently come into possession of a fresh new cookbook (okay I bought when my wife wasn’t looking) and it just happened to have the perfect recipe, carbonnade de boeuf.
So on a recent overcast slightly chilling day, I pulled out my new cookbook, put on my apron, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work.
Carbonnade de Boeuf
Pre-heat your oven to 325°F
The first step is prepping your beef. In a large add your flour and season liberally with salt and pepper and then dredge your beef in the flour.
A helpful tip when doing this is set a wire rack on rimmed baking sheet and set your beef on the rack after dredging it in the flour. This helps to allow any excess flour to shake off.
Next up is to brown the beef. For this step, you’ll want to use a heavy bottomed pan such as a Dutch.oven. Heat your oil over medium-high heat. For this dish I actually used bacon fat I had stored in the fridge. It adds a bit more flavor to the dish and stands up the high heat better than just oil. Duck or Goose fat would also work well but regular olive or vegetable oil will also work just fine.
Working in batches add your beef to the pan and brown on all sides. Once the beef is browned remove from the pan and set aside.
Turn your heat down to medium and add your onions, cooking until they begin to soften. Add chopped garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add half the beer and stir to deglaze the pan, making sure to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add your beef back into the pan and add the remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, herbs, and mustard. Stir everything together and well and allow it to come to a boil. Cook for 5-6 minutes, the cover and transfer to the oven.
Bake for approximately 3 hours until the meat is fork tender and the sauce has reduced. When ready remove from the oven taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary. If the sauce seems thin, remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the sauce until it has thickened to your liking. Return beef and heat through.
The end result is rich and tangy, the meat simply melts in your mouth and the sauce is the perfect accompaniment to a thick piece of buttered bread. I served the dish alongside garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccolini.
In terms of pairing a drink with this dish, you have a couple of options. Given the use of dark Belgium beer in the sauce, the same beer would most likely pair well.
If you’re looking for a wine pairing I would suggest either a Syrah or a Cab Franc. The peppery, full-bodied nature of Syrah will pair very well with this dish and a Cab Franc will help to balance out the richness of the sauce while offering some herb notes.
A third option would be a Manhattan. The slight sweetness from the vermouth and the dryness of the rye would provide an interesting counterpoint to the tanginess of the dish.
Cheers & Bon Appetit!
- 1/2 cup tbsp flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 -2 tbsp fresh ground pepper (add more or less depending on how peppery you like your beef)
- 3 pounds stewing beef cut into 2″ cubes
- 4 – 6 tbsp bacon fat (you can substitute with olive oil, vegetable oil, duck fat or goose fat)
- 2 large onions thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 1/2 cups of dark beer (I used a Belgium chocolate stout)
- 2 cups beef stock (use the best quality beef stock you can)
- 3 tbsp of brown sugar
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 3 bay leaves
- few good sprigs of fresh thyme
- bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard