Carbonnade flamande is traditionally served with a side of crisp, salty frites, but buttered noodles make a fine alternative. This versionâ€™s all about the gravy: A mound of caramelized onions melts into a Trappist ale sauce, rich with fresh thyme and Dijon mustard, sweetened with a bit of red currant jelly and jolted with a shot of cider vinegar.
Makes: 4 to 6Ingredients:
- 4 pounds boneless chuck, well-trimmed, cut in 2-inch chunks
- 3 large yellow onions (about 2 pounds), halved and sliced Â¼-inch thick
- 2 cups Chimay Rouge
- 1 cup beef broth
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons red currant jelly, divided
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 4 to 5 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 8 to 10 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
• Preheat an oven to 350°. Dry the beef with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper.
• Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot but not smoking, add 2 teaspoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the butter, and ¼ to 1/3 of the beef, making sure not to crowd the pan. Sear 2 minutes on each side, transferring the beef to a large Dutch oven when browned. Repeat with remaining beef, using 2 teaspoons oil and 1 teaspoon butter for each batch (you’ll make 3 to 4 batches total).
• Add 2 teaspoons oil and 1 teaspoon butter to the skillet, reduce heat to medium, add the onions and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt; cover and let cook 5 minutes.
• Uncover the skillet, stir up the browned bits from bottom of the pan, and sauté until onions are limp and deeply golden, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and toss with onions for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low, add flour and stir together for 3 minutes. Add broth, raise heat to a simmer, and transfer onions and broth to the Dutch oven, scraping up the browned bits from bottom of the skillet. Add the ale, 1 tablespoon jelly, thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer; stir well, cover and transfer to the oven.
• Cook 2½ to 3 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Stir in mustard, cider vinegar and remaining jelly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool completely, and refrigerate. The stew is best made 1 to 2 days ahead, and warmed over medium-low heat before serving.