Sunday, 16 February 2014

Carbonnade a la Flamande

 It is more wet than cold in London at the moment, but it is winter and winter is the time for warming casseroles.  This one is special because of three ingredients.  One is beer.  The beef is cooked in beer, not wine or stock.  The second is bread spread with mustard.  This thickens the casserole and adds flavour.  The last is prunes.  They add a lovely sweetness to the beef.

2 lb of stewing or braising steak cut in 1 " cubes.
2 medium onions.
1 clove garlic.
springs of fresh thyme and parsley
2 bay leaves.
salt and pepper to taste.
1 slice bread.
1 teaspoon grainy mustard.
1 handful prunes.
1 bottle beer plus water and (optional) stock cube.

Brown the meat in oil, a little at a time, then transfer to an oven proof casserole dish.

Meat browning.

Soften onions and garlic in the pan where the meat was browned to keep all the flavours.

Add herbs and seasoning.

Spread grainy mustard on a slice of bread and push it down into the casserole. This will melt down to thicken the juices and add flavour as it cooks.

Add the onions and the prunes.

Pour in the beer and water to cover the other ingredients and bring to simmering point.

Crumple up a piece of greaseproof paper and wet it under the tap. Then place it on top of the casserole before putting on the lid. Keep the lid firmly on while it is cooking. This will help to keep the juices in. 

Put the casserole in the oven for 2 1/2 hours on low heat. (150 C 300 F) Remove lid and paper, stir and serve with potatoes or tagliatelli and vegetables. I know.  It's not pretty here, but it looks lovely on a plate. In the excitement of serving and eating it, I just forgot to take the final photo.