February 18, 2021

Comfort Food

After two weeks in a polar vortex, it's wonderful to see the sun shine, but it's still cold enough for comfort food. I recently typed up this recipe, one of my favorites, for Amzie's best friend, Julia. I made it for a football party (back in the days when we had parties) and Julia's fiance loved it, so she asked for the recipe. Enjoy!
Beef Carbonnade: Belgian Beef, Beer, and Onion Stew
This recipe is in America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. I’m adding notes on how I prepare it. Enjoy! Susan D (Amzie’s Mom 😊) Ingredients:
3.5 lbs Top blade steak trimmed and cut into 1” pieces. I have used stew meat or cut up a roast.
3 tbs     Vegetable oil. I don’t measure this.
2 lbs     Yellow onions (about 4) halved and sliced ¼ inch thick.
1 tbs     Tomato paste—I use 3 or 4 tbs—you can freeze extra to use later.
2            Garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press—about 2 tsp.
3 tbs     All-purpose flour
¾ cup  Low-sodium chicken broth
¾ cup   Beef broth. I use a can of chicken broth—what do you do with the half cans of leftover beef and chicken broth?
12 oz     Dark beer or stout. Save a couple cold ones for you and John!
4             Sprigs of fresh thyme tied with kitchen twine. I use ½ to 1 tsp dry.
2            Bay leaves
1 tbs     Cider vinegar
This recipe pairs well with potatoes, egg noodles, or rice, and is good reheated.
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat to 300 degrees. I sometimes us a slow cooker. Dry the beef and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a Dutch oven at med-high heat. Brown 1/3 of the meat at a time. Don’t move the meat for 2-3 min. to get a good sear. Put the browned meat and juices in a large bowl and repeat twice. Scrape up browned bits and add to bowl. Honestly, I don’t always brown all the meat—it takes forever! You can get the basic flavor by browning one batch, or if you’re in a big hurry, just skip it all together.
2. On Med-low, heat the last tbs of oil, add the onions, ½ tsp salt, and the tomato paste, and cook, stirring often, for 5 min. Increase heat to med. And cook 12-14 more minutes until lightly browned. Stir in garlic—30 sec. Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and the flour is lightly browned—2 min. Stir in broths, scraping the bottom of the pan; add beer, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar, beef and accumulated juices, salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat and bring to a full simmer. Cover partially and place in oven. Cook until fork inserted into beef meets little resistance—2-2 ½ hours.
3. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs (if using). Season with Salt and pepper to taste and serve.    

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