A beef carbonnade is just a fancy name for the-yummiest-beef-stew-ever. It is chunks of beef, dredged in seasoned flour, browned, and then left to simmer in a dark beer broth for several hours. Unattended. Slow Cooker. Easy.
Traditionally it is served over egg noodles but this was a Sunday meal and I wasn’t going to take time to make them. I used brown rice instead and it was just fine. You could also use mashed potatoes with it — you just want something to soak up that broth. Add a crusty sourdough bread, a salad, and maybe a vanilla poached pear for dessert and you are good to go. Whether you are having a family dinner or trying to impress the new in-laws this carbonnade will take you there.
You are going to want a dark lager. You can buy an import if you like but personally I like Shiner Black Lager the best. It is a Texas beer so I am using a local (ish) product. And, although I don’t drink beer very often, the Black Lager is one that I love. The beer adds a richness to this dish that really can’t be created any other way. The alcohol is evaporated in the cooking process so it shouldn’t be a problem for those of you that don’t drink. If you really, really don’t want to use beer try using gingerale instead… One like Reed’s that is really flavorful. It won’t taste the same but it will be good.
O.k .. back to the Carbonnade. The meat cooks up buttery tender and the flavor of the beer, onions, beef, and other ingredients fairly pops in your mouth. For the best quality you need to get a really nice looking chuck roast and cut the meat yourself. Try to create uniform chunks of beef so that the meat cooks evenly.
The flour dredge seals the meat, gives it a nice color, and adds flavor. Don’t skip this step!
- 4 lbs beef chuck, , cut in 1 1/2 - 2 inch chunks
- 1/4 c flour
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Peanut oil or other light oil
- 1 large onion, , sliced (or 2 if you wish)
- 2 cloves garlic, , crushed
- 12 oz dark beer
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbs fresh thyme chopped, (1/2 tsp dried if you must)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt, (pinch)
- Pepper, (a few twists)
- Mix the flour, seasoned salt, and paprika
- Place the flour mixture in a paper sack and shake the beef in it until well coated
- Heat up about 1/4 c oil in a heavy frying pan until it shimmers
- Add the beef and brown quickly on all sides but don't overcrowd the pan
- Add oil as needed
- When all the beef is browned place it in a slow cooker
- Add the remaining ingredients
- Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours
- Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve over rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes