Flemish stew in a casserole dish with basket of French fries
recipe

Flemish stew recipe: a popular Belgian dish

Babs Rodrigus

Contributing writer

Flemish stew, in French known as Carbonnade à la Flamande and in Dutch as Vlaamse Stoverij, is a traditional Belgian dish that is very popular. People are used to eating it frequently, both at home and in restaurants. Because it takes several hours to cook, most people buy it at the butcher rather than making it themselves from scratch.

Flemish stew has been a part of Flemish cuisine for hundreds of years, dating back as far as the Middle Ages. A couple of years ago, it even received its own holiday (March 1st). Though, admittedly, that seems to have only lasted one year.

The dish is made with beef, onions, and Belgian beer, and it is usually served with mashed potatoes or French fries.

Flemish stew remains a popular and delicious dish that is enjoyed by many. As a result, you will find it on nearly every menu in Belgian restaurants.

A plate of Flemish stew and fries

Flemish stew recipe

There are many different ways to cook Flemish Stew, but the most popular method is to slowly braise the beef and onions in the beer until the meat is very tender.

Flemish stew typically takes 1.5 to 3 hours to cook. The dish is best made in a big casserole with a lid so that the beef has time to braise and become tender. The sauce will also thicken as it cooks and the flavors will have time to meld together.

If you are short on time, you can cook the stew for a shorter period of time, but it will not be as flavorful.

Another important point is that the dish is typically made with dark Belgian beer. It's what really makes the stew stand out. Some people prefer to add liver or kidneys to the beef, while others add a slice of pain d'épices (a honey spice bread) or a slice of bread spread with mustard.

When it comes to recipe variations, there are a few things that are considered sacred by Belgians.

  • First, if you want to follow the original recipe the dish must be made with beef or pork– not chicken or lamb.

  • Second, it must be cooked with Belgian beer – no substitutions!

  • And finally, it must be served with either mashed potatoes or French fries – no other side dishes!

Prep: 30 min
Cook: 180 min
Total: 210 min

Ingredients

  • 1 kg stewing steak in chunks
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 tbsp cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 slice bread
  • mustard
  • 100 ml beer (Rodenbach)

Directions

  1. 1
    Sauté the onion in a bit of butter in a large casserole dish.
  2. 2
    Heat a frying pan with the rest of the butter and sear the meat chunks until they are golden brown. Now you can season with salt and pepper.
  3. 3
    Put the meat in the large casserole with the onions.
  4. 4
    Pour the beer into the pan that you used to sear the meat. When the beer starts boiling, you can put it in the casserole.
  5. 5
    Add cloves, bay leaves, thyme, and a slice of bread smeared with mustard.
  6. 6
    Let it simmer for 1.5h to 3 hours. Stir the pot from time to time.
  7. 7
    When the sauce is thick enough you can put the lid on the casserole.
  8. 8
    Taste to see if you want to add more salt or pepper, but be careful that you don't eat it all!

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Babs Rodrigus

Author - Babs Rodrigus

Babs Rodrigus is a travel addict by heart and loves to explore the world and her home country Belgium. She writes about the tiny Western European country on her blog Next Stop Belgium.

Last Updated 30 October 2022

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