Carbonnade a la Flamande

This traditional Belgium stew is richly flavoured with dark beer and brandy

Yield: Serves 8

Carbonnade a la Flamande


  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 lb (2 kg) beef chuck steak, cubed
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 2 cups dark beer or stout
  • 2 cans (10 oz / 284 mL each) beef broth
  • 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp flour


  1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; set aside. Drain off excess fat.
  2. Add beef in batches and brown on all sides, adding oil as necessary to prevent sticking. Remove beef from pan; set aside.
  3. Add onions and garlic to pan and sauté until tender. Add brandy and bring to a boil, scraping to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in next 7 ingredients (beer through bay leaves). Bring to a boil.
  4. Return bacon and beef to pan. Cover and bake at 325ºF (160ºC) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until beef is tender.
  5. Remove pan from oven and place over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Combine butter with flour and stir into simmering carbonnade. Simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 - 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves.
  6. Carbonnade may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Do not freeze.