Carbonade Flamande

29 Dec

Today we got hit by a lot of snow which really effed up my gargantuan To Do List (an unending, multifarious list for which I am famous in my Art History Senior Seminar).  I fishtailed around some streets and got stuck trying to haul ass up a tiny mole hill in my little Mazda 3 Hatchback, and finally got so pissed off that I went home and started my first carbonade flamande thanks to a recipe from Carlo, on Ratebeer, of De Struise Brouwers.  He is Belgian and therefore, I figured he’d know this Belgian beef stew and he obviously knows his beer.  My sincere thanks for a great, very do-able, recipe!  I whirled around the kitchen in a newly discovered apron that belonged to my great grandmother Grace and to the beats from a nice long set, Live @ Sensation White 2006 (David Guetta).  The beginning of this awesome set made me wish I was sweating in Ibiza rather than freezing and fuming in Ohio winter:  “Last night I had a dream that I lived in a speaker.  And the sky was a smoke filled room in Ibiza.  The sun was a crystal ball shining 24 hours a day.  My air was the wind of the woofer bouncing off the walls.  My soul was the spirit of all the children dancing.  My rain was the sweat that rolled off their faces.  My lightning was a strobe that filled the room like a tropical storm.  This is my world.  This is my planet.  And my planet ROCKS”.

The Recipe Stateside:

2 packages of beef stew tips, already cut up — browned in pan with butter, then transferred to stockpot

4 small yellow onions+1 large shallot+4 small garlic cloves — browned up in pan that used to have beef tips

Added the onion/shallot/garlic contents to stockpot with a tablespoon of white flour

Next: 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 3 bay leaves, 4 cloves, several sprigs of thyme

Ok then, 4 slices of white bread (I used Great Lakes Baking Co. Rustic French) slathered on one side in dijon mustard, place mustard side down on top of the beef/onion concoction

Pour over bread stuff, 2 small tupperware thingies of homemade chicken stock (Carlo says 25cL) and a BIG honker of Chimay Bleu (you can use the Chimay Red/any abbey dubbel/any Flemish sour)

Let it simmer for 150-180 minutes on the lowest possible heat.  The slow cooking yields very tender beef and an interesting sweet/sour combination.  It’s a tasty dish but I found it a little heavy for my tastes, so I don’t know if I’ll repeat it.  But if I did, I feel like it could benefit from some parsnips and carrots but then I guess it wouldn’t be a true carbonade.  I served it over penne rigate because I had some and was too hungry after coming back around 10 from seeing Invictus (which EVERYONE should see), to do anything else.  One of the odd joys of making this dish is the cute little sounds it makes throughout the process.  Before stirring in the soggy bread slices, I was tickled by the weird little heavy breathing bread bubbles huffing and puffing away, struggling under the pressure to keep the stew from breaching its crust.

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