Carbonnade (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew)

  • Serves

    serves 4


I've turned out many plates in my career, but only certain dishes have become meals I feed my own family, like boeuf carbonnade a la flamande. I was taught to make this Flemish beef and onion stew by my mentor, Belgian chef Leon Dhaenens, when I was a young cook. Unlike French beef stews made with wine, carbonnade relies on the deep, dark flavor of Belgian abbey-style beer. But what really gives carbonnade its distinctive character is the addition of brown sugar and a fillip of cider vinegar, a sweet-sour combination that plays beautifully against the caramelized onions and rich beer. —Charlie Palmer, chef-owner of Aureole in New York City and Las Vegas

What You Will Need


  • 2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 2″ x 1/2″-thick slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 cup flour
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cups Belgian-style ale, like Ommegang Abbey Ale
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Bread, for serving


Step 1

Season beef with salt and pepper in a bowl; add flour and toss to coat. Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef; cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Add bacon; cook until its fat renders, about 8 minutes. Add remaining butter, garlic, and onions; cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add half the beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Return beef to pot with remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 ½ hours. Serve with bread.

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