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:
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup
Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Pasta with Garlic Parmesan Sauce
- 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.
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I could use this recipe right about now! We had snow this weekend – yes snow! That breaks all our records and now I need all the yummy warm comfort food I can find. This one looks delicious. I could also use an ice shed stocked with beer! 🙂
Snow! No. Just no. I thought it was getting chilly here, Kathy, but you’ve beat me there. Either way, I’m still in the yummy comfort food mode, and this Carbonade Flamande is a keeper. It’s packed with a ton of flavor! (Also, that ice shed stocked with beer helps us curlers get through the winter. Haha!)
Well done David! A great fall stew and one I have great memories of eating more than once in Brussels. Always with handmade crispy fries and a cold beer. I make a multitude of stews, but I’ve not made this recipe. Thanks for sharing and inspiration as I’ll be giving it a cook. I’ll need to substitute for the beef short ribs as we don’t get that cut here.
Now about curling clubs, that’s some serious beer inventory you guys have at your club. We have a curling club in Lund that does just as you guys do. I’m not able to be on the ice and play, but love to go and watch the folks have fun while drinking beer from the keg I’m setting on.
Yes! I’m jealous that you’re close to Brussels (among other places) over there. I had such a good time in Belgium! So I know chuck roast is a popular substitute for Carbonade Flamande. But I also wonder if you couldn’t put an order in for shortribs at your local butcher? I don’t really know how that works, but it might be worth an ask?
Every curling club I’ve been to has a nice stock of beer in the ice shed. It’s part of the game, I think! I’d love to get over and play a game at the club in Lund. Maybe we’ll bring the Team Beef guys over! (Hah…like that wouldn’t be expensive or anything…)
Our butcher can cut it, but the cost is outrageously expensive (around US18/lb) for a lot of bone and a bit of beef. Our beef is all free-range, smaller than typical US beef and not so tasty. Put our pork is outstanding and we have a pork cut that is similar to beef short rib that I plan to try.
Ugh. Ok, point taken. $18/pound is more than I spend on tenderloin…much less short ribs! That’s an interesting idea to use pork here. Let me know how that turns out?
This recipe was one I cooked out of a cookbook when I was first married and learning how to cook. I didn’t remember that it used short ribs, or that it was served over roasted potatoes. I’m a purist when it comes to fries. I don’t like stuff on them! I can’t wait to make this again. 37 years is too long to wait!
So short ribs is definitely a twist on the classic here, Mimi. (Chuck roast is the more common cut, but short ribs are definitely seen here and there.) And I hear ya on the fries. I liked the roasted potatoes here. I’ll save my fries for burgers instead! 🙂
that’s a perfect flamande this is so tempting. basically flamande are the best one they are preferable then bbq ones. thanks for such great post
Thanks so much, Mary! I love this carbonade flamande…such a good recipe for these chilly nights! 🙂
This Belgian stew is new to me, David. That beef looks juicy and melt in your mouth tender. Perfect with an ice cold beer! 😉
Yup, Carbonade Flamande isn’t as common as other recipes…but it totally should be! This is one heck of a good cold-weather comfort food. Thanks, Marissa!
Oh my gosh, David! We are in fully fall mode here and this sounds perfect! I’m feeling the need for warm, hearty dishes like this, and the beer doesn’t hurt, either! Makes me want to go to Belgium, though. Ha!
Oh yeah, one bite of this one, and you’ll be ready to hop a plane to Brussels! (I loved visiting Brussels actually…such a fun place. And it has a lot of chocolate. Haha!) This is some seriously good Fall food, Laura. I do hope you make it on one of these chilly nights! 🙂
Hi David! This is my kind of food! Tender beef with onions on top of roasted potatoes, who could ask for more? For some reason I cannot get short ribs here so I will have to sub in a chuck roast. Would it be wrong to add some carrots to this? You guys are certainly set on the beer and with bringing snacks that’s a party!!
That is so crazy that you can’t get short ribs in your area! Have you tried the Certified Angus Beef product finder? (https://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/buy/) I wonder if there might be another butcher nearby that you just haven’t stumbled across! Either way, a chuck roast would be totally fine here, too. And, hey, I think some carrots would go well in this one. I would be careful about adding too many, though, as it could get too sweet…the Belgian beer brings some sweetness by itself.
Also, you nailed it with the party description. That’s pretty much what happens every curling night! 🙂
I love that it’s cold weather comfort food season as much as I love that it’s pumpkin season. I really love the flavors in this dish. Just pinned it to my “Amazing Meat Recipes” board. 🙂
Your curling part of your life sounds so fun, and it’s awesome drinks and food work their way into it! ~Valentina
I absolutely love this time of the year, too, Valentina! From the pumpkin spice desserts to the Fall colors to the cold-weather comfort food. It’s hard to beat! Thank you SO much for pinning this recipe. 🙂 Cheers, my friend!
Yes, David, I’d like to confirm that autumn is in full swing now. The previous mornings and nights were refreshing / chilly, but it’s been COLD for a couple of days. I guess we’ve experienced first frosts during the nights. So, it’s totally time for hot tea, mulled wine, and comfort food. This dish is a quintessence of comfort food, hearty and delicious. Pass me a bowl please!
I hear ya on the chilly and refreshing, Ben. I love that time of the year. But then when it goes from chilly to downright cold…eh, no thanks. And it happens so suddenly, too! And, yes, this dish really is the epitome of chilly weather food. Thanks!
I’d definitely love to curl up on the couch with a big bowl of this! I love fall and have totally embraced the cozy clothes and comfort food (well, that’s kinda, like, always, lol).I’ve never heard of this dish before, so clearly I’ve been missing out. Looks like a must try, my friend!
Yes! This dish might not get as much love as it’s cousin (Beef Bourguignon), but it’s SO good. Definitely a good one for curling up on the couch in a hoodie. 🙂 Thanks, Dawn!
This looks delicious and comforting, David – ideal for the fall! I haven’t ever tried this dish before, so we will have to rectify that at the earliest!
Yes! You definitely need to try this one, Alex. It’s so good! It’s similar to Beef Bourguignon, but it uses Belgian ale instead. Definitely worth making a pot of this…although you may want to wait 6 months until it starts to good chilly in your area again! 🙂
I ca go more meat and potatoes any time! Never heard of this dish but this is such a perfect autumn meal, sounds so comforting 🙂
I’m with ya on the meat and potatoes! “Meat and potatoes” sounds so boring, but there truly are tons of ways to mix it up. Carbonade Flamande is an excellent example. It’s a great meal for chilly nights! 🙂
David, David, David! I had forgotten how much I love Flemish Stew! I’m having some friends over soon, and one of them is a fabulous cook, and I’ve been mulling over what to make – or what I dare to make! This is the perfect dish. It’s so ultimate-comfort-foody, and yet it’s easily wonderful enough to serve guests. What would you suggest for dessert?
Done! I’m glad the stars aligned to drop Flemish Stew back into your brain. 🙂 It’s definitely a fancy sounding dish, but truly it’s easy and delicious comfort food. Now for dessert. Hmmm. Full disclosure: I just wandered back through my blog archives for inspiration. What about this Blueberry Streusel Cake (https://spicedblog.com/blueberry-streusel-cake.html) but with sour cherries instead? This Chocolate Chess Pie is insanely easy and insanely delicious. Ooo…and you could use Belgian chocolate to keep the Belgium theme going. (https://spicedblog.com/chocolate-chess-pie.html) Lastly, these Pumpkin Spice Cannoli are a fun one for the season. If going all-in on pumpkin spice is too much, you could still make homemade cannoli. Impressive and easy as long as you just buy the cannoli shells from a grocery store or bakery. (https://spicedblog.com/pumpkin-spice-cannoli.html)
Man, those are all fantastic ideas, David. I think I like the idea of Belgian chocolate. That’s great. I’ve never made a chess pie, and it’s always such a showstopper.
Chess pie is silly easy to make, too, Jeff! Hope you enjoy it, my friend.
I love traditional rich European dishes like this. Just perfect for this colder weather we are now having!
It’s gotten cold here, too, Matt! As much as I’m dreading the inevitable snows, I’m loving the crisp air and the excuse to make delicious comfort food. 🙂
Nice! I like how this stew was moved North, originally being like Beef Bourguignon and so to make it Belgian they replaced the wine with Beer! Here in the UK we have Steak and Ale Pie which might also be a variation of that Belgian Stew. Either way. I’m in!!
You know, when you think about food, it’s really so similar. Dumplings in one country are gnocchi in another. Sure, there might be slight variations, but you can totally see how the recipe progressed over time. This recipe is a definite keeper, too, Neil! It’s delicious!
One of my favorite kinds of beef stew! We have it often in the fall and winter which, of course, means starting now… I love the slight bitterness that the Belgian beer lends to the dish. Have you ever tried thickening the sauce with a bit of pain d’épice (French spice cake)? That’s the old fashioned Flemish way they say, and the sweetness of the spice cake balances the beer really nicely.
Thickening the sauce with pain d’épice? Interesting! No, I haven’t tried that. I have a recipe here on the blog for pain d’épice, so I might have to pull it up and try that out. What a fun idea, and I can see how the spices from the bread would totally work. I’m excited to try this idea now, Frank!
Carbonade Flamande is a traditional Belgian dish from Flanders, the Dutch-speaking, northern region of the country.
Yes! I fell in love with Belgian (and Flanders) recipes when we visited several years ago. So good!! Thanks, Marie!