Colette Reynders, former Graland parent and French teacher, shares her famous Carbonnades Flamandes (Flemish Beer Stew). I tasted this in 1977 and loved it. I copied the recipe and begged my mother one summer to prepare this stew. It was magnificent!
I pass Colette’s home often and think about her; she taught seventh grade French in my room in 1978 -- I loved watching her teach, for she brought such joy to the class.
2 lb. lean beef cut in one inch cubes
2 large onions ( and 1 or 2 shallots, if available)
2 cans light beer
½ stick butter
½ ground thyme (essential)
1 or 2 bay leaves (essential)
1 or 2 parsley sprigs
¼ tsp finely chopped garlic
6 medium-sized Idaho potatoes
2 or 3 T. finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt butter in large pan or kettle. Brown all pieces of beef on all sides, a few at a time. Set aside. Slice onion very thin and separate rings (or chop finely). Cook onions in the same pan adding more butter, if needed, until they are limp and lightly colored. Add the garlic, if desired. Return beef to pan and add thyme, bay leaf, parsley, and salt & pepper to taste. Pour in beer to cover meat and scrape all brown bits from bottom and sides into the sauce. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for one hour, preferably two hours. Add beer or beef broth, if necessary.
Meanwhile, peel potatoes, quarter, and boil to tender. Drain and dry quickly over a medium fire until mealy. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. At the last moment when the beef is done, stir one teaspoon of cornstarch into a small amount of beer or water, add to the stew, and bring to a boil while stirring. The sauce must be smooth and thick enough to coat a clean spoon. Serve hot with potatoes and a tossed salad.
A national Belgian dish! Must be accompanied by a cool glass of beer, if tradition is to be followed.