It was a chilly Sunday afternoon and the only plan set in stone was that we were going to make a stew. I felt I needed the aromas of beef, beer, and mustard surrounding me while I snuggled under a blanket and read Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut. If that doesn’t sound like an awesome, relaxing Sunday afternoon I don’t know what would.
Traditional Flemish Beer Stew A rich and hearty meal for the hungry man (or woman)
Recipe from The Food and Cooking of Belgium by Suzanne Vandyck
This stew is one of the most famous traditional Flemish dishes. The taste will vary depending on what type of beer is used to flavour and tenderize the meat. The taste also changes depending on the type of bread spread with mustard that is placed on top of the stew, where it then dissolves to thicken the stew and to add flavour.
500 grams of stewing beef or chuck steak, cubed
20 grams (3 tbsp) All-purpose flour for dusting
25 grams of butter
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
330 ml Dark Belgian beer (we used Leffe Christmas Edition)
30 ml (1 tbsp) soft light brown sugar
30 ml (1 tbsp) red wine vinegar
1 tsp of thyme and other spices you want to include
2 slices of rustic bread (white, dark brown, or spice cake)
30 ml (1 tbsp) Dijon mustard
Some chopped spring onions
Salt and ground black pepper
Serve with fries, mashed potatoes, or breads.
2. Heat a large, heavy frying pan. Melt the butter and the oil over medium to high heat for about 4 minutes to seal in the juiciness of the beef cubes. As each batch browns, remove the cubes from the pan and chuck them in the stew pot where the onions, carrots and garlic are being cooked.
3. After all your meat has been browned, drain the excess fat in the pan.
Then pour the beer into the pan to be heated to just below boiling point.
Add the spices, brown sugar, vinegar. Pour into the stew pot with meat and veggies. Spread 1 slice of bread with mustard and chuck them mustard side down on top of the stew.
Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until meat has become tender.
4. After 1 1/2, prepare the 2nd slice of bread with mustard and place this on top of the stew. The stew should already have thickened a bit, but this slice of bread will absorb some of the pan juices and dissolve to make the stew even thicker.
5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve and enjoy!