[london.food] Carbonnade Flamande

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From: Joel Bernstein
Subject: [london.food] Carbonnade Flamande
Date: 23:56 on 15 Mar 2007
I made this tonight, vaguely inspired by something I had in a Belgian
restaurant a while ago. Thought it was very good so wrote up a recipe.

Carbonnade Flamande with Prune and Apple

This is a Belgian dish, beef shoulder stewed in sweet brown beer with
caramelised onions. I've added apple, prunes and nutmeg, which make a 
delicious contrast with the beef and work very well with the beer. I 
used Leffe Brune this time, which was surprisingly delicious. In the 
past I've had Carbonnade with Orval or Chimay Blue, which work very 
well. I'd like to try it with a gueuze or that sour red Belgian beer 
which tastes more like wine...

If you're improvising with the beer, try and get something sweet, brown
and malty. Not stout, not porter, something sweet and rounded.

Preparation time: <30 minutes
Cooking time: around 2 hours

    * 1 kg cubed shoulder beef
    * 3 rashers smoked bacon, chopped into 1cm pieces
    * 5 large shallots, sliced
    * 2 small red onions, sliced
    * 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    * 1 tablespoon flour
    * 500 ml bottle Belgian ale
    * 750 ml strong beef stock
    * 15 semi-dried prunes
    * small crisp eating apple (Cox's works well), peeled and cut into 
    * 2-4 bay leaves
    * 5 stalks fresh thyme
    * 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    * salt and pepper
    * chopped parsley
    * wholegrain mustard

Season the beef with salt and pepper, and brown well in a dash of oil 
over a medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add half a teaspoon of 
mustard while it browns, if you like. Set the browned meat aside and 
deglaze the pot with a splash of beef stock, scraping up any browned 
bits. Save the broth and bits with the beef. 

Drop the bacon into the pot and fry over a medium-high heat until it 
browns.  Allow the fat to render and run off before removing the bacon 
with a slotted spoon and putting it with the beef. 

Pour the sliced onions into the bacon fat and fry gently for 3 or 4 
minutes with the lid on, until they begin to soften. Sprinkle on the 
brown sugar and stir in well - this will help to caramelise the onions,
giving them a sweet brown flavour. Cover again and cook gently until 
the onions are soft and golden, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle over the 
flour, stirring it through the frying onions for a moment and allowing 
it to soak up the fat. Return the beef, bacon and any collected juices 
to the onions in the pot, and let them heat up again. 

Now turn up the heat and pour in the beer. Once it stops frothing, add 
the stock, bay leaves, thyme, five prunes, and half the nutmeg. Bring 
it to the boil, and simmer gently for an hour on a low heat, stirring 
occasionally to prevent burning. 

After an hour, add the rest of the prunes, the nutmeg, and the apple 
slices.  Simmer for another 30-60 minutes until the meat is tender and 
the sauce is thick and delicious. Before serving, stir through a 
teaspoon of seeded mustard and some chopped parsley.


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