Carbonade Flamande is a traditional Belgian dish consisting of beef short ribs simmered in Belgian ale and then served over fries or roasted potatoes. It’s the perfect comfort food for cold weather!
Now that Autumn is in full swing, it’s time to turn our attention back to cold weather comfort food. As August comes to an end, I go into Autumn kicking and screaming as I just can’t deal with the fact that summer is over. But by late September, I’ve fully embraced the light jacket and beautiful leaves. (I choose to ignore the heavy jackets and snow boots in the corner of the closet.) Late September also means the return of curling at our local curling club. (Curling is seriously one of the only reasons I stay afloat during the long winters up here in upstate New York!)
I’ve written about the sport of curling on a number of occasions before, but today I’d like to point out one of the rather fortunate side benefits enjoyed by curling clubs everywhere. The temperature on the ice is somewhere between 35°-40°F (1°-4°C). It’s chilly for sure, but you end up working up quite a sweat during a game. Here’s the thing. That ice shed is basically a giant refrigerator. Visit any curling club, and chances are you’ll see stacks and stacks of beer bottles and kegs.
The social side of curling is quite strong, and it’s customary to have a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) with your teammates and the opposing team after each game. I found it hilarious when I first started curling to see kegs lined up next to the ice where we curled. Now it’s just normal. In fact, I often use that kegs as a seat when taking my shoe gripper on and off. I particularly enjoy traveling and playing in different clubs, and every club uses their ice as a refrigerator. It’s kinda cool!
Speaking of beers at the curling club, our club (Schenectady Curling Club) always keeps at least one variety of Ommegang beer in stock. Brewery Ommegang is located near Cooperstown, New York, and they’re especially known for their Belgian-style ales. (When Ommegang was built in 1996, it was modeled after a traditional Belgian farmhouse brewery.) Ommegang’s Abbey Ale is a traditional Belgian dubbel, and it’s one of my (many) favorites that they brew. I always keep a stash stocked in our basement bar. So where am I going with this talk of Belgian beer? Well a bottle of that Abbey Ale was used to make this Carbonade Flamande!
Carbonade Flamande is a Belgian beef and onion stew that is traditionally made with beer, thyme and bay leaves. In many ways, Carbonade Flamande is similar to Beef Bourguignon that is popular in France, Belgium’s neighbor to the south. However, as this recipe moved north, the French red wine got replaced with Belgian beer. (When in Rome…) The result is a sweeter stew that can be found in restaurants throughout Belgium and the Netherlands. Laura and I took a trip to this area several years ago, and I definitely remember seeing Carbonade Flamande on menus. The pasta which is typical seen with Beef Bourguignon is replaced with fries or, as I did in this version, roasted yellow potatoes. I also chose to simmer this one a bit longer so that the stew thickened and became similar to a thin gravy.
All together, Carbonade Flamande is a delicious comfort food meal that is perfect for these early chilly days of Autumn. (I suspect it will also be perfect for the downright frigid days of January and February, too…but we aren’t there yet!) So grab a bowl and curl up on the couch. Cheers!
Did you make a batch of this Carbonade Flamande at home? Leave a comment. Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog)!
Looking for other tasty cold-weather comfort food? Check out these recipes, too:
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon diced
- 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs cut into 2” cubes (see note)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 medium yellow onions cut into ¼” slices
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1½ tsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 12 oz. Belgian style ale such as Leffe, Chimay or Ommegang
- 1½ cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- roasted potatoes
- chopped fresh parsley
- Place a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add diced bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crispy. Transfer bacon into a large bowl, but leave ~2 Tbsp of bacon fat in pot. Transfer bacon into a large bowl; set aside.
- Meanwhile, pat beef dry with a paper towel.
- Add butter to pot. Once butter has melted, add beef and brown on all sides, turning as necessary. Once browned, transfer beef into bowl with cooked bacon. (Note: I did this in 2 rounds to avoid overcrowding the pot.)
- Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper; toss until well coated. Set beef aside.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
- Add sugar and minced garlic; stir until well combined. Continue cooking for 8-10 more minutes, stirring often, or until onions have turned golden brown.
- Add flour; stir until well combined.
- Add ale; stir until well combined, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Transfer beef and bacon into pot. Add broth, mustard, brown sugar, thyme and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours. (Note: This is a good time to roast the potatoes.)
- Remove lid and continue simmering for 40-45 minutes or until beef is fork tender.
- Discard bay leaves. Spoon mixture over roasted potatoes and garnish with chopped parsley.