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Thursday, June 13, 2024

CRL Recipes Series: Belgian Beer and Onion Stew

Make this 'Flemish Carbonnade,' Belgium's national dish, at home.

This recipe for Flemish Carbonnade (or Belgian beer and onion stew, Belgium’s national dish) comes courtesy of the Merry Monk.

5lbs beef, preferably chuck shoulder tenderloin
2 quarts beef stock
2 quarts (64 ounces) Leffe Brown
(or any abbey style beer)
5 Spanish onions
6 tbsp Dijon mustard
2oz brown sugar
2 tbsp course sea salt
1 tbsp course black pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika
¼ pound butter
2lb Spaetzle (German egg noodle pasta)

Let’s start with the beef. I like to use something naturally tender, even though you will be simmering it for a little while to make it even more tender. I like something called chuck shoulder tenderloin (teres mejor). It is the second most tender cut of beef behind the filet tenderloin. If you can’t find this cut, any stewing beef will work, however you may want to cook it down for another 20-30 minutes.

Let’s talk about the beer. We need a rich, slightly bitter, dark beer. A beer that will contrast well against the sweetness of the brown sugar. My favorite so far to use in this recipe has been the Leffe Brown, but abbey style will do.


  • Start by peeling the onions, and cutting them down to approximately 1” x 1”.
  • Next, cut your beef into 2”x 2” chunks. Toss the beef in a mixing bowl with approximately 2 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp course black pepper.
  • Cut the butter into 4 cubes. Heat one cube of butter in a heavy duty stock pot.
  • When melted, start searing the beef. Do not crowd the pot. Do not turn beef until nicely seared, approximately 2 minutes. Turn beef chunks over and repeat. Remove and set aside until all beef has been seared, using another piece of butter for each round of searing.
  • When all the beef is seared, you should have a nice, dark bottom on the pot. Add beer, beef stock, mustard, brown sugar, paprika and mix together. Let onions cook down for about 10 minutes on a rolling boil.
  • Add seared beef and cook for approximately one hour. If beef is not fork tender, continue cooking for 15-minute intervals until beef has reached desired tenderness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook spaetzle per directions on box. Serve Carbonnade over spaetzle. Feeds 6-8.

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