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Carbonnade á la Flamande -- Beer Braised Beef & Onions  
By Susan Nye

Printer-friendly version

Relax with your guests while traditional Belgian comfort food simmers in the
oven. This dish is even better made a day or two ahead.

Serves 8-10

4 ounces thick cut bacon, chopped*
About 5 pounds thick cut London broil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 large onions, cut in half and then into 1/4-inch wedges
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 cups beer  
1-2 cups chicken stock
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves  

Cook the bacon in a heavy casserole over medium heat until crisp. Remove the
bacon and reserve. Pour off all but 1-2 tablespoons of bacon fat and reserve.  

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and
brown the beef, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the beef and reserve.

Add a little more bacon fat to the pot if necessary. Add the onions, carrots and
celery. Season with allspice, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Reduce the
heat to medium and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the onions
are lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Stir in the garlic, mustard, sugar and
vinegar and cook for 5 minutes more.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  

Add 3 cups of beer, 1 cup of chicken stock and the thyme and bay leaves to the
onions. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Return the beef and
bacon to the pot and bring to a simmer.

Cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Turning the meat once or twice, cook at
325 degrees until the meat is very tender, 2-2 1/2 hours. Add more beer and/or
chicken stock if necessary.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let it sit, loosely covered, for 20
minutes. Skim the excess fat from the sauce and discard the thyme twigs and
bay leaves. Return the pot to the oven to keep the onions and sauce warm. Slice
the beef and serve with onions and sauce.

* If you like, you can skip the bacon. Sear the beef and sauté vegetables in a little olive oil.

You can make this dish in advance (up to 3 days). Cool to room temperature,
skim the excess fat and store covered in the refrigerator. Bring the pot to a
simmer over medium heat and then transfer to a 325 degree oven for 30
minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the beef is warmed through.
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