(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
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.