Snow Day: Belgian Carbonnade

What could be better than being a kid and waking up to that radio announcement saying "SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED due to inclement weather!!!!" (I am dating myself, nowadays they do it via email!).

Yay! A snow day! We can sleigh ride, make snowmen and make snow angels!

Well, now that I am grown up (or so they tell me) I still love snow days.

Friday, we received 5" of the white fluffy stuff, the first of many annoying snow days!
But for me, I like this day because I am forced to stay indoors.
What do I do with my confinement?
Cook. Shovel the walk, cook, shovel the walk and cook.
What else?

Today I decided to make my yearly Belgian Carbonnade. It is the perfect comfort food for a cold snowy day. It makes a lot! so I freeze it for future meals.

This is a traditional Belgian beef stew made w/ good Belgian beer and simple ingredients.
It is traditionally served over potatoes, but we like it over egg noodles too.

There are many variations of this recipe, but most use beer. I have seen some with vinegar. This is my favorite of all the recipes I have tried. It is adapted from Real Simple magazine from years ago. It is always a winner....

Belgian Beef Carbonnade:

3 lbs. good quality chuck meat (stew meat)
3 onions, sliced thick
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 bottles Belgian dark beer (I used Leffe Belgian beer, cause that's what I had)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
kosher salt and pepper

In a heavy dutch oven, cook your bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.

Put a little olive oil in that same pot.
Now salt and pepper your beef cubes, and cook for about 7 minutes per side until browned.
I do this in 2-3 batches.
DON'T CROWD YOUR MEAT OR IT WILL STEAM! It is time consuming, but you want a nice crusty exterior.

Remove your beef and transfer to the bowl with the bacon.

Cook your onions and garlic a few minutes until wilted. Now add your tomatoes, brown sugar, herbs and 2 bottles of beer. Place the beef back into the pot. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Place your pot in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours to braise.
This is gorgeous stuff. The house smells so yummy.

I have to go now and shovel the walk!


Yum! I think I can smell this by reading this post. Can you believe we didn't get a drop of snow? I am not complaining!
kat said…
I missed snow days when I lived in CA now I love them in MN especially since MAtt & I both work at home. I just don't like them when I have to be somewhere like today...oh you should see the snow falling. THe stew looks amazing a perfect winter meal
RecipeGirl said…
That's some seriously good grub to make on a snow day. Hope your snow day was fun!!
Anonymous said…
Ooooo, I love it, never had a snow day here in cali, the land of sun, but it sounds wonderful with this beautiful meal.
Anonymous said…
My sixteen year old sister lives in northern Michigan, where snow is everywhere. I just found out she has already had her sixth snow day this year. So to her, going to school is a treat! hehe
Melissa said…
I remember those snow days. Turning on the local news channel, just hoping your school would be named to stay home.

I just - JUST 5 minutes ago - read about doing this recipe with chicken in January's bon appetit. I like the beef idea better, especially for this time of year.

Love your process shot of the beef and bacon sitting aside, especially as it drives the point home about really searing each piece and not overcrowding. Lovely dish!!
Giff said…
Nice stew! Question though: with the brown sugar and Leffe, which is a sweeter beer, does this run on the sweet side of savory?
Peter M said…
We rarely get school closures here but Buffalo gets closed all the time with their heaps of snow.

Carbonnade, right down to the Leffe...great beer - no doubt a delish stew.
I can smell the aroma in the air!!!! Perfect for the 4degree weather we're having here. Stay in, stay warm!
Andrea said…
I miss snow days! This look so very very good, I'd definitely choose egg noodles. Nothing more comforting than stew withe beer!
The beef looks great...I wish we could get a snow day here...
Anonymous said…
Considering the weather, I'm making carbonade soon, except mine will be with oxtail, and some gingerbread I think... And beer of course :-) Oooh, looking forward to that.
Another difficult dish to photograph.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.