Flemish in origin, carbonnade is a beef stew made unusual by the addition of beer, ACV, sugar, fresh tarragon and thyme. It’s rich, hearty and completely versatile, as it can be served accompanied by buttered noodles, mashed potatoes, boiled or roasted potatoes and my personal favorite, a crispy, heaping pile of French fries. Any dark Belgian beer is optimal here ad as it’s common with most stews – it will taste gloriously better one or two days after.



2 LBS of beef flatiron steak – fat trimmed and cut into medium sized cubes

¼ cup of flour

3 TBSP butter

3 slices of smoked bacon – chopped

2 cups of Belgian style ale

2 TBSP of dark brown sugar

7 cloves of garlic – minced

2 large sweet onions – thinly sliced lengthwise

1 cup of beef stock

2 TBSP ACV – apple cider vinegar

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 sprigs of fresh tarragon

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

Dry the beef cubes well and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle some flour and coat well.  In a Dutch oven, heat up the butter and start browning the beef in batches. If you add it all at once, it will accumulate too many juices and it will not brown properly.

Transfer to a plate. To the drippings, add the bacon until it has rendered its fat. Remove most of the fat from the bottom of the pot. Add 1 TBSP of butter and throw in the onion slices and garlic. Caramelize for about 30 minutes, stirring to ensure they don’t burn. Deglaze with half of the ale and reduce for about 3 minutes. Add the beef cubes, beef stock and the rest of the beer. Incorporate the ACV, sugar, herbs, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer half covered for about 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is very tender, making sure that the juices done evaporate too much during the cooking.

If the juices are too thin, add a slurry of flour and some cold water to thicken it and cook for about 10 minutes to remove the raw flavor of the flour.

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