Winter Recipes
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Stoofvlees/Carbonade Flamon/Beef and Beer Stew served with either mashed potatoes, french fries or tagliattelle

Beer and beef! Yum – can anyone think of a more perfect combination? I can’t. I just go mad for Stoofvlees as it is called in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium from where this traditional recipe originates – especially if it is served with a tangy green salad and chips fried in beef fat. The dark, sweet, malty flavours of Abbey Beers work so well with the tough cuts of meat that tenderise, as if by magic, these sinewy chunks of meat. In fact the magic lies in the combination of a low, slow cook and acid from the marinade and fermented beer. There is very little preparation time for this complete meal and well worth a bash. For this recipe it is definitely worth adding a stock to give the stew added depth. The tangy sweetness from the dried prunes is also a definite plus if you have any.

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Ingredients

For the marinade

1 tsp. ground cumin.

1 tsp. ground cardamon.

1 tbs. dark molasses.

Some thyme.

Olive Oil.

Apple-cider vinegar (or any vinegar you have to hand).

For the stew

Approx. 1 kg of stewing beef (estimate around 200 gr per adult portion). The best cuts come from the shoulder sometimes referred to as chuck.

Light or dark Abbey Beer – it matters not. You can even use a standard pils or lager but the abbey beers definitely have something going for them if you can source them.

Some lard or goose fat or butter.

1 onion.

1 lt. stock (chicken, veal or beef).

1 cup of prunes.

Directions

For the marinade

Sprinkle the meat generously with salt, pepper plus the cumin, cardamon and thyme and rub into the meat. Sprinkle the marinade generously with olive oil and the vinegar and mix into the meat. Leave to rest for anywhere from three – 24 hours.

For the stew

In a pan heat up the chopped onion in either lard or goose fat.

Brown the marinated meat. When it is ready add the stock and the beer. The stew should be covered by at least 2 cm of liquid. If you don’t have enough add some water.

Heat the oven to 140 degrees centigrade and leave to cook for at least two hours, preferably five – the longer the cook the more tender the meat.

Before serving check if the gravy needs thickening with some arrow root or flour.

Serve with either mashed potatoes, french fries or tagliattelle, a fresh green salad or with runner-beans fried in olive oil and garlic.

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