Carbonade Flamande is a Belgian beef stew with beer that is full of caramelized onions, bacon, and tender, slow cooked beef. Served with thick cut fries or boiled potatoes, this stew is the perfect recipe for winter comfort food.
(DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are our own.)
Carbonade Flamande is a traditional Belgian dish from Flanders, the Dutch-speaking, northern region of the country.
This stew gets hints of nutty malt flavor from the ale that mingles with the sweetness of caramelized onions, creating a delicious blanket for the tender chunks of beef.
This is definitely a “meat and potatoes” kind of dish.
Not like a beef and vegetable stew that boasts ample veggies intermingled with the beef stew chunks, Carbonade Flammande is a thick and comforting pot of beef and onions.
It’s actually kind of like the French Beef Burgundy, but made with beer instead.
Carbonade Flammande is traditionally served with wedge fries or boiled potatoes and a hearty, crusty bread.
It is the perfect dish to warm you up as the weather starts to change to fall or after a long day out in the winter snow.
What Beef To Use For Stew
When choosing a cut of beef to use for stew you want to go a bit counter-intuitive and look for tougher cuts. When slow-simmered, the connective tissue in these cuts breaks down and transforms them into a moist and tender finished product.
If you slow braise an already tender cut, you’re doing two things. First, you’re doing too much work to a cut of meat that is perfectly fine on its own. But second, you’ll actually turn it into into something drier and tougher than it was when it started.
So, what are the best cuts of beef for stew?
When choosing your roast, you want to look for an even distribution of little white flecks within the lean mussel. This is called marbling, and it ensures that your meat will cook up juicy and flavorful.
A roast that starts with good marbling will add incredible flavor and a robust beefy-ness to your end product.
We always look for Certified Angus Beef ® brand beef, because their beef has to adhere to 10 quality standards that other beef does not have to meet. Two of their stringent standards have to do with the amount and quality of marbling.
When we get Certified Angus Beef ® brand beef, we always know the beef is going to be flavorful and give us a perfect end result.
What Beer To Use For Carbonade Flamande Beef Stew
The beer you choose for your Carbonade Flamande is also important to the flavor of your finished dish.
Tradition calls for either a Belgian Brown Ale or Flanders Red Ale.
We went for the Belgian Brown Ale in the version pictured here. The malt of the brown ale gives the stew a nutty and slightly spiced flavor.
A Flanders Red Ale falls in the category of sour ales and gives the carbonade a lighter, slightly sweet and sour flavor. If you like sauerkraut with your beef or love sauerbraten, grab a Flanders Red to use in your carbonade.
You won’t be disappointed!
Try them both and let us know which is your favorite version!
Carbonade Flamande (Belgian Beef Stew With Beer)
- 4 slices bacon, diced
- 2 lb beef roast (round, chuck, or rump work well) cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 onions, sliced
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 (12 oz) bottle Belgian Brown Ale or Flanders Red Ale*
- 1 c beef stock (we prefer low sodium)
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ tsp salt (to taste)
- ¼ tsp pepper (to taste)
- Heat a medium soup pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the diced bacon. Sauté over medium-high heat, until crisp, 4-5 minutes. Remove the bacon to a plate and set aside.
- Drain all but 2 Tbsp of bacon fat from the pan (reserving the extra fat). Season the beef cubes with a little salt and pepper and place them in the pan with the bacon fat to sear. Sear the beef cubes on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot. (If necessary, do this step in batches so you don’t crowd the pot.).
- Add a little more of your reserved bacon fat to the pan. Then, Add the sliced onions. Sauté the onions over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and continue to sauté until golden and caramelized, 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook until the flour is moistened.
- Add the ale to deglaze the pot. Scrape any stuck bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the beef and bacon back to pot. Add the stock, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Add extra broth or water as necessary so that the beef is nearly covered with liquid.
- Place the lid on the pot and simmer over low heat for 1 ½ hours.
- After 1 ½ hours, remove the lid and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Once the stew has reduced to a thick consistency it is ready to eat! Serve with wedge fries or boiled potatoes and hearty bread.
This is one of the recipes from the early days of Curious Cuisiniere. We’ve updated our pictures since we first shared it, but we’ve left some originals here, in case you’ve found us in the past and are looking for that old, familiar image.