THE MEAT: Beef chuck roast is a workhorse muscle, filled with tough meat—making it perfect for a slow-braised recipe like stew. We also throw in additional fat and flavor with pancetta, a relative of bacon (but with the added essence of garlic, juniper berries and black pepper). The combo of the meats works perfectly in this traditional dish.
THE METHOD: The first half of the recipe is spent building flavors and the second half of the recipe is giving those flavors time to meld together. There’s some chopping to be done, and you’ll need to brown the beef before beginning the actual stewing process, but it’s well worth it, we promise. And your house will smell amazing for hours once everything is going on the stove.
THE MEAL: We’re huge fans of egg noodles with this dish. They soak up some of the juices from the carbonnade and taste great. But mashed potatoes or rice would work as well. And if you really want to feel authentically Belgian, pull out your fryer and whip up some frites.
Belgian Beer and Beef Stew
4 pounds chuck roast cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup flour
½ cup butter
8 slices pancetta, minced
1 head garlic, roughly chopped
4 yellow onions, sliced
32 ounces Belgian quadrupel ale (we used Boulevard’s Sixth Glass)
2 cups beef stock
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
10 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs parsley
4 bay leaves
Season the cubes of meat with salt and pepper and toss in the flour. Working in batches in a large dutch oven, sear the cubes of meat on all sides until they are browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the meat and set aside.
Add the pancetta to the pan and cook for about 6 minutes, until fat has been rendered and the pancetta bits start to crisp up. Add half of the beer and scrape the bottom of the pan until you have removed all of the browned bits. Add the garlic and onions to the pan, then liberally salt and pepper and allow to cook for about 30 minutes, until the onions are caramelized.
Add the remaining ber, beef stock, brown sugar, cider vinegar, thyme, parsley and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Allow to cook for about 2½ hours, until the meat is tender.
Serve with egg noodles, roasted carrots and crusty bread.