Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 17, 2014
Comforting Carbonnade

There are lots of reasons to dig into something hot and comforting this month—winter’s chill, short days and long nights, curling up with a favorite old movie or a hot-off-the press book.

Belgian Beef and Beer Stew (Boeuf Carbonnade) might be just the dish you want. It’s not easy for a beef stew to rival a wine-drenched Boeuf Bourguignon, but this one—with meltingly tender beef, caramelized onions and a full bottle of dark ale—really does. It proves that wine isn’t the only way to add great taste to a beef stew.

The stew is a terrific combination of sweet and sour. The sweetness comes from the caramelized onions and red currant jelly; the sour comes from the mustard and vinegar. Traditionally served with French fries (pommes frites), it’s also perfect for topping a bowl of egg noodles so you don’t miss a drop of the luscious sauce.

The flavors of this stew improve after a few days in the fridge, so it’s a great recipe to make on the weekend, then serve up later in the week when you want to get straight to that movie or book.

Belgian Beef and Beer Stew

A bottle of dark ale is the secret to this Belgian classic. All you need to accompany the stew is a crisp green salad and a bottle or wine (or beer).

3 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed, and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 teaspoons vegetable oil

3 yellow onions (about 2 pounds), cut into halves and sliced 1/4-inch thick

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 (12-ounce) bottle dark ale (Belgian ale is best)

3 large thyme sprigs

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red currant jelly

1 teaspoon cider vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Pat beef dry with paper towels; season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil and a third of the beef. Sear 2 minutes on each side, or until well browned; transfer to a large Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining beef, using 2 teaspoons oil per batch.

3. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to saute pan; reduce heat to medium. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cover; cook 5 minutes. Uncover and saute until onions are soft and golden, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and toss with onions 1 minute. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Pour in broth; increase heat to a simmer. Transfer contents of pan to Dutch oven, scraping bits from bottom of pan; add ale and thyme. Bring to a simmer, stir well, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until beef is very tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

4. Stir in mustard, jelly and vinegar; let cool completely and refrigerate. (The stew is best made ahead 1 or 2 days, and gently reheated). Serves 6.


Per serving: 434 calories, 24g fat, 63mg chol., 34g prot., 14g carbs., 1g fiber, 703mg sodium


Recipe by Laraine Perri, a food writer in New York City

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