It's been unusually cold here the past few weeks. We've had snow a couple of times as well as freezing rain which virtually paralyzes this city. This weather makes me crave stew.
Carbonnade is wonderful served over egg noodles or with a side of crusty bread. It's one of those dishes which seems to taste even better the next day.
2 slices of bacon, diced
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic sliced
2-3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red currant jelly (or 1 tbsp brown sugar)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Better than Boullion, Beef, or a bouillon cube
750 ml strong dark ale beer (large bottle with cork)
1/2 lb carrots, sliced
1/2 lb parsnips, sliced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbs cold water, optional
2-3 tsp flour, optional
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
cooked egg noodles or crusty bread for serving
Cook the bacon in a dutch oven or pot with tight fitting lid over medium-low heat until it begins to get crispy. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the onions soften and begin turning light brown.
Add the bay leaves, thyme, mustard, currant jelly, vinegar, bouillon and beer. Stir to combine, then add the carrots, parsnips, mushrooms and beef. Stir again. The liquid will barely cover the meat and vegetables.
Lower the heat and cover the pot. Cook for about 3 1/2 hours. Remove the lid and cook for another 1-2 hrs or until the meat is fork tender.
If the stew has a lot of liquid and you prefer it a bit thicker, then combine the water and flour in a glass until smooth. Add a small amount of liquid from the stew and mix well, then return everything to the pot. Cook for a few more minutes. Check for seasoning. Use the salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and the stems from the thyme.
You may serve the stew now.*
*I like to let it cool overnight. The next day I remove any fat which has risen to the surface and then heat the stew again to serve. The flavours seem more developed to me the next day.