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Carbonade Flamande

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01 March 2010 at 15:51
Note - Since my first posting on this dish, I've learned a lot about it, including some slight variations and/or improvements in the ingredients and the method that make it a little more "authentic" and also help improve the final product. You can make this as described in the first post, and it will be outstanding; however, if you want to take it up a notch or two, read the entire thread and consider some of the suggestions that are included ~ if you have any questions, just ask!

This beautiful, rich peasant stew, known in north-eastern France as Carbonnade du Bœuf, has a long and humble history, as described by John ("Rivet") when he was telling me about the french version:

Quote This is a very old, very basic, farmers dish from the Alsace region of France, way up in the northern cold border with Germany. Plain rustic fare that is in keeping with the people and their ways - farming, beer making, not much time for fuss and frivolity.


When I first read about this wonderful, French dish, serendipity must have been knocking on my door; as circumstance had it, i not only had nearly all the ingredients for this on hand, but had also just returned home with a three-pound chuck roast and a couple of bottom round steaks and no plan on how to prepare them. not only that, the wonderful mrs. tas had intimated that she wanted some sort of beef dish for sunday dinner. the only thing missing was some appropriate beer, and a quick trip to the grocery took care of that.

Then, when I began my research for this, i ran into a lot of crossover with Belgian cuisine. This makes sense, for Belgium is the bridge between the north-east region of France and north-west Germany:



Wikipedia also noted that Carbonnade du Bœuf is a hallmark of the cuisine in the nord-pas-de-calais (artois, flanders, hainaut) and picardie regions.



In Belgium, the dish is called Carbonnade Flamande. Wiki's description is virtually an exact enumeration of the components that John used, with only slight variation:

Quote A carbonade flamande (or à la flamande), in Dutch Vlaamse Stoverij or Vlaamse stoofkarbonade, is a traditional Belgian sweet-sour beef and onion stew made with beer, and seasoned with thyme and bay.
 
The type of beer used is important, and traditionally an Oud bruin, Brune Abbey beer or Flanders red is the beer of choice with a somewhat bitter-sour flavour. In addition to this and to enhance the sweet-sour flavour, just before serving, it has a small amount of cider or wine vinegar and either brown sugar or red currant jelly stirred in.... It is often accompanied by frites or boiled potatoes.

The term carbonade may also refer to...certain beef stews cooked with red wine such as Beef bourguignon in the south of France, but is more commonly associated with the Belgian dish.


Because of this extremely close relation, i decided to prepare the Belgian version; but truth be told, the method seems to be equally at home in Belgium, Holland or France - and probably Germany, as well - as it is a regional specialty of the intersection of those areas.

In comparison to john's version, mine was, by necessity, going to be slightly different than his; for starters, i only had red wine vinegar, so i used that. also, not having a cast iron dutch oven at the time, i planned on making this in an earthenware crock. i would use the the crock for the oven only, and do the browning/deglazing in my trusty copper-bottomed stainless steel pan. finally, whereas he used Guinness, i used a Belgian-style beer called Blue Moon, a nice choice that incorporates orange peel and coriander to great effect and, while it is probably not completely, authentic for this dish, it worked very well.

For the sake of convenience, here is a shopping list and summary for this outstanding, rustic, peasant dish!

Quote Carbonnade du Bœuf, prepared as Carbonnade Flamande

Butter and/or extra virgin olive oil for frying
4 to 5 large onions
3 to 4 pounds beef chuck, bottom round or other cheap cut of beef
1/4 to 1/3 cup flour, as desired for thickness
1/2 cup white balsamic, or you can use white wine vinegar
6 to 10 cloves garlic
1 tbsp dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh thyme
4 to 5 bay leaves
3 to 4 beef bullion cubes (or equivalent glace de viande), to taste
Salt and Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 bottles of Belgian beer

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Slice onions thickly (perhaps 1/2 inch) into disks. Trim of most of the fat from beef and cut into approximately 3-inch by 2-inch chunks and put them into a bowl. give them a modest shake of salt and freshly-ground black pepper, stirring to coat. Measure out flour into a bowl or cup. Pour 2/3 cup of wine vinegar into a bowl or cup and de-cap beer bottles. Crush and peel garlic cloves and put them into a bowl with the thyme, bay leaves, bullion cubes, salt and pepper. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons butter and/or olive oil in a wide skillet or sauté pan to high, but back off a bit of it starts to burn. Alternately, this recipe can be made entirely within a cast-iron Dutch oven.

Toss onions into pan and sprinkle a bit of salt on them to help release moisture. Sauté until well-browned and caramelized on both sides; if the disks come apart into rings, don't worry, but try to keep them whole. Remove from heat and place half of the onions in the bottom of an earthenware crock, reserving the remainder. If using Dutch oven, simply put the onions in another container and set aside for now.

Note: Scroll down to further posts for suggestions on how to improve the technique in the preceding step

Add a bit more butter and/or olive oil to the pan. When hot, add meat (in batches) and sear on all sides, it will take some time to cook the moisture down; stick with it! Just when you are about to give up, the real majority of the moisture will get cooked out and the meat will get well-browned on all sides and the liquid will reduce into a wonderful, flavourful, thick hot mess - you will also start to get browned bits in the bottom of the pan.

Note: Scroll down to further posts for suggestions on how to improve the technique in the preceding step

Place meat on top of the bottom layer of onions and sprinkle the flour over the meat. If using Dutch oven, put meat in a bowl and set aside for now.

De-glaze the pan or Dutch oven with the balsamic or wine vinegar, stirring well to lift all the brown bits from the pan. When the vinegar has reduced down to a thick, caramelized liquid, drizzle it over the beef in the crock. If using Dutch oven, remove from heat, place half the onions on the bottom and stir them around to mix with the deglazed liquid, then place meat on top of the onions. Sprinkle the flour over all, along with the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, bullion cubes, salt and pepper. Spread remaining onions on top and pour in the two bottles of beer.

Cover crock or Dutch oven, making sure that some steam will be allowed to escape, and place in oven at 325 degrees for half an hour, then reduce heat to 300 degrees for two-and-a-half hours.

Remove from the oven and remove the cover. Sauce should thicken while standing. If necessary, heat uncovered until it thickens to desired consistency. Carbonade Flamande should be dark, thick and rich, like a stew or gravy. Serve with potatoes cooked your favorite way, rice, noodles or dumplings, along with your favorite vegetable, as well as a good beer - Belgian, if possible. Don’t forget to have some sliced, crusty warm bread for sopping up the sauce!


Here's how it went down the first time I made it. I wish to stress that my techniques and execution were not perfect by any means, but the Carbonnade was still - in spite of my inexperience - very good. Since then, I've picked up a few concepts and have refined some of the techniques - and I've also taken some much better pictures. If this recipe interests you, please read on for some excellent discussion, lessons learned and great photos!

For the most part, i followed john's procedure very closely so that i would have a "base line" for future experimentation. Later, I picked up a few concepts along the way that seem - to me - to be an improvement.

Here's a picture of the goods -



Note that this is so simple and yet so little is needed; it is hard to explain how much bang for your buck you get with this dish. it is a perfect example of peasant food in that it takes such simplicty and turns it into such wholesome, rib-sticking goodness that you can wrap yourself in.

The beef used was about three-and-a-half pounds of chuck roast in combination with about a pound-and-a-half of bottom round steak. This is a huge amount, but there were over half a dozen of us to feed that day, and we wanted leftovers.

To begin, I trimmed the meat to remove most of the fat, but did leave a little on. the beef was then cut into chunks around three inches-by-two inchs, give or take.

Next, i sliced the onions and gave them a good sauteeing in order to soften them up and carmelize them:



I can never decide whether to use olive oil or butter, so i generally use a bit of each. the onions came apart into rings, which makes me think that i didn't quite slice them thick enough; this is in contrast to john's preparation, where the thick slices stayed together during the browning, but it was all good.

Once the onions had acquired just a bit more "sizzle," i removed them from the heat and set them aside. i then added a little more olive oil and butter and proceeded to brown the meat:



When the beef hit the pan, it released a lot of moisture. as this "boiled off," a trememdous amount of rich, carmelized, beefy goodness was left in the pan. this thickened and darkened and became the base for the rich sauce. as the reduction neared its culmination, the beef started to brown really well:



Once the beef was wonderfully seared, I laid down half of the onions in the bottom of my crock, then spooned the beef over the top of them. i then sprinkled a quarter-cup of flour over the top of the beef (a little more would have been better) and spread the remaining onions on top (in a Dutch oven, the procedure is a little different. review the recipe above, and/or see the posts below). quickly, i turned my attention back to the pan and poured a half-cup of red wine vinegar to de-glaze. the effect was immediate and filled the kitchen with a great aroma of browned beef and onions kissed with a sharp, rich tang. i boiled off the vinegar and reduced this down, then spooned it over the top of the onions. i then added the thyme, bay leaves, 8 crushed-and-peeled garlic cloves, pepper, a pinch or so of salt and 4 boullion cubes. this was looking beautiful, but the best was yet to come as i poured in the two bottles of belgian beer:

Note - these next photos aren't the best; scroll farther down this topic for some better ones!



I then sealed the crock tightly with foil (see below for thoughts on this action) and set it in the middle of the oven.

I got a late start to making this, so I had to deviate from the original cooking times and temperatures a bit, but i see nowhere that it adversely affected the final product. By now, there were so many good smells going on that it was hard to take them all in. it was 6:15 pm and we were looking at a long, slow braising ahead of us before we could eat. the oven was preheated to 325, and i made the decision to braise the beef at this temperature for two hours, rather than cook for a half hour and then reduce down to 300 for another two-and-a-half hours. one key factor in this decision was the fact that i had taken the beer out early in the day and it was by now at room temperature. i was concerned that higher temperatures might result in tough meat, and i was afraid i may have traded time for quality, but as it turned out, my fears were unfounded.

Two hours later, the beef was done. i removed the crock from the oven and set it on the stove top on a burner that was just barely on "warm" and covered it with a towel to keep warm. i then threw the temperature of the oven up to 450 for about a half hour in order to finish the OMG potatoes that were going to be sitting next to this stew. after maybe 20 minutes, i carefully lifted the foil off and saw that there was still a lot of liquid in the crock, but that was no big deal - it smelled so good, and just needed a little thickening. 

i left it uncovered, bubbling nicely, in order to thicken up, but it never got as thick as i preferred, so i mixed some extra flour in with a little cold water and added it to the liquid to thicken it up. this seemed to do the trick.

No one was in the mood for elaborate plating pictures - we were hungry! so this is what you get - a grainy, hastily-taken picture of a plate getting filled with beef, OMG roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables and cottage cheese bread with rich, savory gravy over all:



Reception of this simple-yet-exquisite peasant dish was very good all-around and ranged from "wonderful!" to "perfect!" speaking for myself, i just flat-out LOVE it when a person can take such simple, easy and basically CHEAP stuff and turn out a work of art. this was absolutely one of the best meals I had emjoyed in quite a while - probably since the Poulet aux Quarante Gousses d'Ail that I made for the first time during the previous autumn.

The family loved it. when i described what i was fixing for supper, my dad had given me a hard time for using "fancy" beer (wasting it, in his mind), but he had to admit the results were outstanding. in his opinion, it was a little heavy on the garlic (i really like garlic), but the only real complaint that i heard that evening was that there wasn't enough for a 3rd helping! for my part,i thought that the garlic was just right in it.

The potatoes and vegetables made the perfect side dishes and the cottage cheese/chive bread was perfect for sopping up the rich, thick gravy. the chuck was fork-tender - fell apart with just a little pressure on the chunks. the meat had this rich, red colour from the braising - even the few chunks of bottom round steaks that i added were very, very tender. not quite as much as the chuck, but still able to cut with a fork. the tartness of the red wine vinegar worked perfectly with the onion, thyme, garlic and beef flavors. the belgian beer had some orange peel and coriander and even though i couldn't specifically pick those flavors out, i knew they were in there and i think they blended with the other flavors perfectly. this was a home run out of the park.

The only problems i saw were these:

I only had 3 onions - a fourth would have been perfect and even a fifth wouldn't have been excessive.

I used a little too much oil/butter to brown the meat, and threw it in the saute pan at a bit too low of a temperature. it took me a while to figure this out, so it didn't quite get seared the way i would have liked, but it did not suffer in moisture, tenderness and flavor, all three areas were great. also, when the juices reduced down, some good browning did finally ensue.

caution to anyone who makes this dish: it seemed like forever to get the initial moisture out of there, but it was worth it when it finally boiled off and the serious browning began, the incredible beefy good news was all there. stick with it and you will be rewarded!

The extra oil made the deglazing with the vinegar a little weird, like there never really was anything to deglaze, even though there was a LOT of thick, concentrated beefiness in there - i poured in the vinegar and boiled it off and reduced it down and the results were very good, but not quite the same as if they would have been the browned/caramelized/lifted-from-the-bottom-of-the-pan bits. in spite of this, everything turned out fine, though.

As i said before, when i took it out of the oven (a third hour a lower temperature might have made a difference), i sat it on top of the stove still covered, but even after about half an hour while the potatoes finished up, it seemed way too thin. so i did mix another bit of flour and a little water to thicken it. I am not sure if extra cooking time and/or resting time would have thickened it anyway, but the meat was so tender it certainly didn't suffer at all.

I will improve on these issues next time - and there WILL be a next time! the house still smelled like carbonnade this morning - loved it. rich and savory. 
 
I know that this post is a bit jumbled, but that;s how it went down! Even with the things that didn't seem to go right, it turned out just about perfect. I very strongly recommend this dish for anyone who wants a wonderful hot meal on a winter's evening.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2010 at 04:32
Holy moly and the rest! What a fantastic, delicious, historical read, Ron....I loved it! Superb research and maps to go along with such a fantastic account of a lovely dish. I'm so glad you made it- you certainly understand all my gushing about the smell and flavor and tenderness for simple ingredients that we already had in the house....that is the best way to cook. This certainly was a bullseye for you and your family. Having tasted Blue Moon beer, I can imagine the underlying notes in the gravy...it does have a unique taste that definitely is more in line with the Belgian version of the carbonnade than the Alsatian one. You know,  there is an international wine and beer chain here that has beers from everywhere... I just might splurge the next time I make this and buy a quart of Belgian or bitter beer. I know they have them and they come in quarts...some with a cork and foil like wine. Some come in crockery bottles, big beautiful things well worth keeping afterwards.
 
Like you, we're definitely going to add more onions next time!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2010 at 07:13
i can't stress enough how easy and good this dish was, and how relatively inexpensive it is for the amount of food we got. this literally fed six people twice over for probably less than 20 dollars, but it tasted like something a person would pay a lot of money for at a restaurant. absolutely a make-again meal here!

i think a specialty belgian beer would definitely be fun to do this with and would provide just a little extra touch of atmosphere if someone is looking for an old-world experience!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2010 at 10:30
from a friend in france who saw our posts!
 
Quote Originally, beef was cooked this way with red wine in regions like Burgundy,
it became carbonnade flamande when cooked with beer that was and still is
more common in Northern France and Flanders as well as in Alsace
where beer and white wine are more common than red wine.
 
You guys make my mouth water, quite a while I did not cook that.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2010 at 18:32
Doggone it Ron. As if I didn't have enough sites to keep track of now you've got to go and start another one. This is the third time you've got me hooked on a site.
 I took the afternoon off from work today to run some errands. I got home at 4:00 and determined that I had time to make this recipe. I didn't follow it to the letter but took a general direction as guided by your preface remarks. I used: 
 
A 3 pound, very lean, sirloin tip roast cubed to about 2" x 2". 
 
Two softball sized Vidalia Onions sliced in pie shapes top to bottom so I had petals instead of rings.
 
5 Teaspoons Polander diced garlic
 
2/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
 
1 Bottle of Smithwicks Irish Beer ("smiticks" to the uninitiated)
 
1/2 Bottle of Woodchuck Amber Hard Cider
 
The rest was the spices you detailed in your list above.
 
I also prepared it exactly as you did as far as the Browning and assembly process. I used the Woodchuck Cider in place of the beer as my wife doesn't care for a heavy beer taste in food. The Woodchuck added just a hint of sweetness that offset the Balsamic and Smiticks. The Gravy was very rich and dark but a bit thin. I removed the meat from the crockery dish leaving the sauce. I the took 1/2 cup of hot tap water and dissolved a heaping tablespoon of corn starch in it with a whisk. I whisked that into the sauce and put the crockery in my micro wave for one minute. I removed it and whisked the sauce again and microwaved for another 30 seconds to bring the sauce (now gravy) to a boil. It thickened perfectly. I added it back to the meat and we ate it over thick egg noodles. This recipe is one of the best I've ever done. Thanks for the process and hints. Rockydog
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2010 at 18:38
hey, mike! thanks for joining and glad that you gave this a try!
 
looks like it was a smashing success with your adjustments and it was a hit with mrs. RD. excellent!
 
keep looking around here, you're going to find all kinds of good stuff!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote got14u Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2010 at 19:27
Wow what a dish...that's all i have to say about that(forest gump voice)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2010 at 12:54
after my first attempt with belgian carbonade flamande, i was suitably impressed and couldn't wait to try it again. that opportunity came on the day of my #2 son's graduation this last weekend. we had planned to do barbecue, but due to the forcasted weather this came off the table. i went over a few options for dinner with him and he chose this dish.
 
interestingly, this time around i had a new cast-iron dutch oven with which to try the carbonade. i had never used one before, but i am a true believer after this dish! the DO has the 3 legs on the bottom, so i wasn't really able to use it for browning the onions and meat. what i did do was pre-heat it in the oven and then  reduced the pan drippings in it after deglazing and scraping them off the pan i used. from there, i prepared the dish in the DO and slipped it into the oven.
 
one thing i learned from my alst attempt at this was to sear/brown the meat as long as possible so that all the moisture is brought out and reduced down. this helps the meat soak up the beer and other braising liquids and maximise tenderness and flavour. i also tried to cut the onions thicker this time around so that they stayed in discs, but alas, i didn't quite cut them thick enough and once again they came apart. no big deal - the end result was outstanding!
 
one final addition i made was in using some dried french tarragon that i had retrieved from a plant in our house before it died. here is a shot of the blue moon belgian-style beer going into the carbonade - note the dried tarragon leaves:
 
 
this is a new camera and we are still learning the ropes with it, so the lighting was bad. here's a slightly better shot just before the lid of the dutch oven went on and it went into the oven:
 
 
and here's a shot when the carbonade was finished. please note that due to camera settings, it appears lighter than it was - maybe the flash or something was a little too close.
 
 
in any case, imagine this as a dark, rich brown and believe me it tasted wonderful! all of the flavours combined well and the chuck roast chunks were fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. we served the carbonade on mashed potatoes and once again there was barely enough to go around. all memebrs of the family were impressed, including my parents who ahd dropped by just in time for supper. my mother was so impressed that she wants to to teach her to make it, so i guess i did something right ~
 
enjoy the pix, but in reality, it tastes even better - give it a try sometime using the recipe and method above!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 June 2010 at 21:34
Tas, I made this over the weekend for a third time. It never gets old! This time I did it in the crockpot on High for about 4 hours after preparing it in a large frying pan. Again using Smithwicks and Cider. The Smithwicks gives it a rich brown color and the cider just a hint of sweetness that offsets the tang of the balsamic vinegar. My wife thinks that fresh mushrooms added for the last hour might be an interesting addition. She helped prepare it this time as I was grilling at the same time. (Pregrilling some brats for use later in the week.) RD
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 November 2010 at 13:37
here are three pix of carbonade flamande that we recently made form pronghorn antelope cut into stew-meat-sized cubes:
 
 
this turned out very well, following the above recipe exactly except in two regards: 
 
a) rather than red wine vineager, we decided to try some white balsamic vinegar that john had sent. this really catapulted the dish into another ballpark and was in my opinion, an act that brought us a bit closer to the true original carbonade experience, since the large majority of wines produced in this region are white wines.
 
b) where the recipe calls for a couple of bullion cubes, we elected to use a pint of home-made antelope stock; results were quite wonderful!
 
 
the beer we used for this carbonade was new belgium 1554, and i must say that it was an outstanding, rich choice for this deep, full-bodied meal and that game that it was made with!
 
 
for all of you who haven't yet tried carbonade flamande, my only question is, what are you waiting for?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 November 2010 at 16:09
Well darn Ron, if that wasn't some of the nicest carbonnade I have seen....that sauce! Wow. So rich and ochre in the closeup, with all those bits of spices, onions andd goodness that you just know are going to make each mouthful a joy~ a success to you. Never tasted pronghorn antelope but I am sure it was a delicious addition to the dish and wild game being closer to the ur-recipe than any other. Very nice, and great pics too Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Exploreralpha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 November 2010 at 21:35
Ron, I'm SOOO going to have to try this, with venison.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 April 2011 at 21:21
I've liked this dish ever since I first tried it and have made it several times this past year. It NEVER gets old!
 
Not long ago, we acquired a new "son," who will be staying with us for a few months, and I decided to share this excellent peasant stew with him. The ingredients and procedures for preparing this dish are outlined very well in the links above, so you can check those out if you want, and i will cut to the chase here.
 
Worthy of note is that we used our own beef (chuck roast cut into large cubes) and New Belgium 1554 Black Ale, a dark, Belgian-style ale that is based on a very old recipe and is - in my opinion - among the best choices for this beautiful dish.
 
Here's an abbreviated run-down on the preparation:
 
Carmelising the onions:
 
 
Searing the beef:
 
 
Until it looks like this:
 
 
When I put everything tgether, I omitted the thyme, since the brautiful Mrs. Tas has expressed her dislike of that herb; other than that, things were pretty much right along with the ingredients and preparation as noted above. Right before it went into the oven, however, I realized I had put the flour on top of the top layer of onions, rather than on the layer of beef.
 
No big worry, I simply stirred everything together:
 
 
And it certainly seemed to come out fine in the end:
 
 
The picture above is actually a little washed out from the flash; in reality it was much darker:
 
 
We served the Carbonade on rice for the first time, and it was outstanding:
 
 
Our guest was very impressed with the amount of goodness coming from such simple and humble ingredients:
 
 
The beautiful Mrs. Tas and the rest of the kids all agreed - this was probably the finest carbonade I've made to date ~
 
 
If you haven't already tried this, I sincerely hope you do so soon ~ it's so easy and so good - and to be frank, it's so cheap, that there's no reason not to!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 April 2011 at 11:48
This looks wonderful, I'm definitely going to give this one a try!  Thanks for posting, Ron!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2011 at 09:18
andy, you will not regret this, if you give it a go.
 
you can use any beer you want, but a good, belgian-style beer is worth a try. the two best from america that i've found are a local micro brew called beltian white from harvest moon, or new belgium 1554 - either of these will really put you right there. if you can't get those, blue moon is also good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MomInAnApron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2011 at 16:47
Ron,

As you know from my Facebook post, I tried this recipe recently with some moose that was given to me. Of course I used Moose Drool beer too! This recipe is absolutely FABULOUS! 

I snapped a crummy photo with a cell phone, please don't hold it against me, LOL.

~ Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times ~

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 September 2011 at 18:12
looks great, debbie! wish i would have been there to give it a try! Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 October 2011 at 16:48
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

i then added a little more olive oil and butter and proceeded to brown the meat:

when the beef hit the pan, it released a lot of moisture. as this "boiled off," a trememdous amount of rich, carmelized, beefy goodness was left in the pan. this thickened and darkened and became the base for the rich sauce. as the reduction neared its culmination, the beef started to brown really well:


A note on technique:


You are correct that the "beefy goodness ... left in the pan" is the foundation of your sauce in a recipe like this (or in other braises, stews, and things like chili made properly with cubes of meat instead of with ground beef.)  In fact, that "goodness" is called the fond in French technique.  But in your example, you are really trying to brown far too much meat at once to fully develop the fond, and thus your dish won't have the full depth of flavor that it could.  Instead of trying to brown all the meat at once, as in your photo above, you should instead divide it up into 3 or four batches.  Then you can leave sufficient space between the pieces in each batch as you brown it off so that it will actually brown well and develop at deep fond instead of spending most of its cooking time actually steaming.  Also, to fully develop the browning and fond, move the meat around as little as possible -- just turn it onto another side when one side is fully browned, don't keep stirring it around.


If you thought it was good before, you'll find it to be even better with a little technique and a little more time.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 October 2011 at 16:56
Hi, Daikon, and welcome to the FOTW forum ~
 
Many thanks for your excellent advice on the fond; it hasn't occurred to me in all the times I've made this, but, it makes perfect sense to divide the beef into smaller batches in order to keep the moisture at a manageable level that will let the meat sear rather than be saturated with liquid. It also makes sense to keep it in motion as little as possible.
 
Great tips - thank you!
 
Feel free to make yourself at home here and jump in on any existing topic, or start one of your own. We've got a pretty decent crew here, and by the looks of it, we may have just gained another great member. If you have any questions or issues, let us know.
 
Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 October 2011 at 03:08
Stew beef is on sale this week, so I might take a stab at this....it'll either be this or my Guinness stew.
Go ahead...play with your food!
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