It's that time of year where a pot simmering in the oven for hours reveals a deliciously rich and silky stew, a dinner so good that day, but a night in the refrigerator transforms it into something even more special. This dish was first made popular by Julia Child, called Carbonnade de la Flamande. It is simply beef and onions braised in beer. A little care in the prep, then it can hang out in the over for a few hours while you do other things. Make this for company. I did and everyone really enjoyed it. We served it over buttered noodles, bu boiled potatoes would be a good option. Enjoy.

Beef and Onions Braised in Beer

Oven to 325 degrees

2lb. of Stew Beef, cut into 1x2" chunks
1 1/2 lbs. thick sliced Spanish onions
6 cloves of garlic, sliced
flour for dusting
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 T dark brown sugar
1 pint Belgian Ale (I used Corsondonn Abbey Brown Ale)
1 cup rich beef stock
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. thyme
salt and pepper
1 T corn starch dissolved with 1 T apple cider vinegar

The success of this dish depends on two steps. Caramelizing the onions and browning the beef. Take the time and do it right. You will be rewarded with a rich and succulent stew.

In a heavy dutch oven (I used my enameled cast iron pot) melt the butter with 1 T olive oil. Over medium heat add the onions and allow to cook until caramelized. This will take about 25-30 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time add the garlic, brown sugar and a teaspoon of salt. While the onions are working, brown the meat. In another saute pan heat to medium high. Add olive oil. Dry the meat with paper towels and then sprinkle with salt and pepper and about 2 T of flour. Toss so it is evenly coated. Brown the meat in batches (about three), getting it good and caramelized. Set aside each batch while you cook the next one.  Once the onions are caramelized, add the beef, stock, ale thyme  and bay leaves. Cover with the lid and allow to come to a simmer. Once it is simmering transfer to the oven set the lid slightly ajar and allow to cook for about 3 hours. The stew is done when the beef becomes very soft and is easily cut with a fork. Put the pot back on the stove, add the vinegar cornstarch mixture and stir to combine. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. The stew should be silky and slightly thickened.  Remove the bay leaves and serve over buttered noodles or potatoes. Enjoy