Tuesday, January 27, 2009


"Things are beautiful if you love them."
~ Hubbard Lake Winter
(Favorite hearty and rich Belgian beef stew with sweet caramelized onions and dark beer, perfect company fare by the fire after a long day skiing or snowshoeing.)
~ The Silver Plate Cookbook
1/4 lb.bacon
2 very large yellow onions (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 lbs. (1-in. cubed) beef stew meat (chuck is best)
vegetable oil (optional)
2 cups imported dark beer
chopped parsley (garnish)
  • Coarsely dice bacon and saute in large skillet until crisp and brown. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Add onions to skillet and cook, covered, in rendered bacon fat until tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover skillet, raise heat, and sprinkle onions with sugar. Toss and stir until well browned. Transfer onions to strainer set over a bowl and let stand while you prepare the beef.
  • Stir flour, thyme, salt, and pepper together on plate and roll cubes of meat around in mixture until well coated. Shake off excess and set cubes on another plate.
  • Press onions gently with back of spoon to extract as much cooking fat as possible. Transfer fat to a kettle. Add in vegetable oil if not enough for proper browning of beef. (Be sparing or carbonnade will be greasy).
  • Set kettle over high heat; when very hot, add 6-8 cubes at a time to brown properly. Turn heat down slightly and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer with slotted spoon to clean plate and proceed with the browning until all meat is done.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Pour beer into kettle and stir browned bits on bottom with spoon. Return beef cubes to kettle along with bacon and sauteed onions. Bring to simmer on stove. Cover and set on middle rack of oven.
  • Cook 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until stew is thick and meat tender.
    Taste and correct seasoning.
  • Turn into heated serving dish, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately. (6 portions)
    Note: Serve carbonnade with buttered egg noodles tossed and poppy seeds, sauteed apples, black bread and good dark beer.

~ Comfort in a day
(Late January sunset)
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."
- Edith Sitwell


marmee said...

i love your sunset and hubbard in the winter photos. so nice. we are having eye of the round roast tonight. with garlic and roasted potatoes but your beef with carmelized onions sounds wonderful.

jodi said...

Yum! A perfect comfort food, indeed...I ought to make this because I'm not feeling very well this week and something like a stew will (hopefully) help bring things down to what passes for normal around here.

Catherine said...

Gorgeous Joey! Lake Hubbard is beautiful covered in ice! Looks very cold..but that beautiful ~Comfort in a day collage looks very warm and inviting..love how the captures of the fire go so well with the sunset captures!
You have a great eye bloggin sis!
And the stew..yum, the perfect comfort food to enjoy while looking out at that gorgeous lake and landscape!
Warm Hugs

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

Now, that's comfort food!

Your photos always amaze me, too.


Cabs said...

Hi Joey! I'm back in blog land for a bit. Nice to catch up. Winter comfort food is where its at these days. It is freeeeezing here in Massachusetts.

joey said...

Sounds like perfect food for winter, dear Marmee. I can almost smell the roasting beef and garlic potatoes from here :)

Dear jodi, wish you lived near. I would happily share soulful food ... there would surely be a steaming pot of this hearty stew before you. Stay well, dear friend and don't overdue. Though we love having you near, better to know you are feeling well. Warm hugs.

As you know, dear Cat, warm fires, family & friends, sunsets, and mooonlit nights at the lake sustain me :) (In harmony with tons good food and warm thought of you.)

Thanks dear Cameron. Life at the lake in all seasons is very photogenic :)

Hallelujah ... you're back, Carol! You've been driving around in your new pickup forever!

Anonymous said...

Full-bodied stews and soups are just the thing to chase the chill away this time of year, combined with a lovely fire, of course. The recipe sounds wonderful!

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Gorgeous collage Joey I just couldn't read the recipe, will be back to do that after dinner tonight. I'm at work and starving right now, I started to read but I just couldn't.... 'see' you later/ Tyra

Roses and Lilacs said...

Joey, that recipe sounds so good.

Your photos look cold but cheerful. Today is the first we have seen the sun all week. It's easier to accept the cold days when the sun is shining.

joey said...

Agree Nancy ~ this is not a light meal for a balmy summer evening :)

Thanks, dear Tyra ... you make me chuckle :) Actually, you could put this in a slow-cooker and dive in when you get home from work!

You lucky gal, Marnie ... it's snowing again this AM, quite heavy at times and travel hazardous.

It was indeed a cold evening (10-degrees) but stunning sunset and toasty warm by the fire. We are most fortunate to see this from inside in the winter. Actually, the equinox sets directly in front ... love watching the the sun seasonally dance across the sky.

Frances said...

Hi Joey, thanks for a mouthwatering recipe. This is similar to my mother in law's roast beef and beer gravy done in the crockpot, but quite a bit fancier. The blend of carmelized onions and the browned beef is hard to beat. Comfort needed here in cold, wet, sunless TN.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Oh - that sounds nice (the beef carbonnade) - its going to get colder here - so I shall save it for when we need soul food.
Love the montage of pictures - you have such an eye for composition.

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

Yes, with love all things are beautiful...

joey said...

Comfort food sustains, dear Frances, like the bones of our gardens, and the hearts of our children.

The joy of knowing you, Karen, rings whenever we connect. Thank you, dear friend.

Dear Brenda ~ I've know you long enough to know this quote rings in your heart as well as mine.

Patsi said...

Love the first pic !
At first I thought it was a lake...very cool.
I figure if you cook half of the recipes you post that you have one SPOILED family!

joey said...

Hello and thank you, dear Patsi ~ the first pic is indeed the frozen lake! And yes, my family might be SPOILED since these posted recipes are all family favorites. I've been cookin' for eons with many more favorites, yet to be posted!

beckie said...

Joey, I'm all about comfort food anytime of the year! Beef stew with buttermilk biscuts. Ymmmmm. Love your view of the lake frozen over. Very peaceful looking. Stay warm!

joey said...

And don't you love the smell of comfort food roasting in the oven, Beckie ~ anticipation is half the joy! The lake is indeed peacful in winter (great ice-fishing).

Bren said...

I was looking for some warmth on this cold winter afternoon and I FOUND IT - on your page! Thank you for sharing the warm fire and the beautiful sunset. We can't see the sunset from my property but today I shared one that I captured last week while on a drive to dinner.

Was the Red Wine GOOD? I had a nice glass last night with a small Godiva chocolate before bed. YUMMO!!!

Warm Wishes my favorite Garden Blogger!

MNGarden said...

Everytime I come to your site I get hungry. :)

Gail said...


Lovely, lovely photos...and when is dinner at your house! In case we pass through~~...The beef dish sounds perfect as a comfort food on a cold winter day! gail

joey said...

Loved your winter sunset photo, dear Bren! Yes, the wine (a life-long hobby for the entire family) was wonderful ...

Then I have done a good thing, Donna! My goal is for all to leave hungry, THEN cook :)

Thanks, dear Gail ~ you and I always have camera near, embracing the day :) You have an open invitation to visit ... whenever!

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying my winter cause it's been very mild. I don't see well sometimes and I thought your picture was a sandy beach at first. I'm glad I took a better look. I was getting ready to say it looked nice and inviting.

joey said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, dear Anna, and why I posted Jean Anouilh's above quote: "Things are beautiful if you love them."
I'm one that loves the beauty of the frozen lake and the joys that winter brings ...

Maria said...

Hope if was OK to copy the recipe..it sounded so good! Maria

joey said...

Thanks for visitng and please enjoy, Maria ~ exactly why I am sharing :)

Anna said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Joey and for your comment. Carbonnade would be delicious today as we have our first snow of the winter. We visited Bruges last winter and ate it there - we are now addicted :)

joey said...

Thank you for stopping by, Anna. I love this hearty food in winter.