Belgian Beef Carbonnade / Vlaamse Stoverij

This week Joanne happened to say to me that she fancied a big warm and comforting stew for dinner. Naturally I obliged with something a little different, I decided upon making a Belgian Beef Carbonnade. A carbonnade is an onion, beef and dark beer based stew. Unlike the traditional recipe below I decided to serve the carbonnade with some nice fluffy Maris Piper potato mash.

From wiki:

carbonade flamande (or à la flamande) (in Dutch Stoverij or Stoofvlees), is a traditional Belgian sweet-sour beef and onion stew made with beer, and seasoned with thyme and bayMushrooms or spiced bread can also be added. 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 flavor. In addition to this and to enhance the sweet-sour flavor, 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 french fries or boiled potatoes.
The term carbonade may also refer to a dish of grilled pork loin and certain beef stews cooked with red wine such as beef bourguignon in the south ofFrance, but is more commonly associated with the Belgian dish.

I adapted my recipe below from Tracey's Culinary Adventures:

Ingredients :

600g of Steak cut in to 1 inch pieces
Olive Oil
400g onions halved and sliced about 1/4-inch-thick
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons) 
1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
120ml beef stock 
180ml brown belgium beer
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, tied with kitchen twine 
1 bay leaves 
0.5 tablespoon cider vinegar 


  1. Preheat slow cooker / crock pot.
  2. Pat the beef dry with paper towels, season on all sides with salt and pepper. 
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in frying pan oven over medium-high heat until very hot.
  4. Add about 1/3 of the beef to the pan - don't crowd the meat, you want it to have space to brown properly. 
  5. Brown for about 3 minutes on the first side, then turn the meat over and cook until the second side is well browned, about another 3 minutes.  Transfer the beef to a bowl.
  6. Continue browning the rest of the meat in batches, adding 2 teaspoons of oil for each new batch of meat.     
  7. Once all the meat has been browned, reduce the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. 
  8. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the tomato paste.  Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits, until the onions are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  
  9. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour and stir to coat the onions.  Cook until the flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. 
  10. Stir in the beef broth, scraping the bottom of the pan again to loosen any remaining browned bits.  Add the beer, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar and beef (along with its accumulated juices) to the pot.  
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Raise the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  When the stew reaches a simmer, cover the pot partially, then transfer to the slow cooker.  
  12. Cook for 8 hours on low heat until meat is tender breaks easily..
  13. Remove the thyme bundle and the bay leaves.  Adjust seasonings to taste before serving.
  14. The stew can be made ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container for 4 days. 
  15. Serve on mash potatoes
  16. HEAVEN!

    Thanks so much to Tracy, it was excellent both me and Joanne loved it so much.