Beer, bacon and caramelized onions all come together in this hearty Crockpot Beef and Beer Stew – Carbonnade Flamande recipe. With just the right amount of warming spices this stew satisfies on so many levels – using a crockpot makes it weeknight easy, especially with my tips!
Flavored with beer, bacon and caramelized onions, its a rich and satisfying no fuss dinner perfect for lazy sundays and football and would be perfect for the Superbowl!
This past April, I explored the historic city of Bruges in Belgium – and had my first introduction to Carbonnade Flamande! After 10+ days in Paris I was ready for some comfort food, and this Crockpot beef and beer stew – Carbonnade Flamande absolutely hit the spot – and went on my list of dishes to research and make when I got home.
Carbonnade Flamande is an old peasant dish and can be found throughout Belgium as well as the northern portion of France that borders Belgium and Germany.
As you might expect their are a number of variations of this dish – from the type of beer used, to additional spices (in the Alsace region many recipes call for adding a slice of Pain d’epices -a spice bread- to the stew!) to other vegetables being added – Jacques Pepin adds carrots and potatoes to his version.
So, what is a cook to do??
Relax! The true “key” to this dish is to use a good beer – one that you enjoy the taste of – and if that means you have to sample one or two to get the right one… well, it’s a tough job and somebody has to do it, right?
A nice belgian ale works nicely here, but others beers work as well – I used a Samuel Adams Winter Lager but their Fresh as Helles would work beautifully too!
Secondly, spend the extra time to really caramelize the onions. Tip: you can caramelize the onions a few days before you make the stew or, better yet, make a large batch and freeze them and then just add them to the stew!
Last, but not least, use a good quality bacon…. because bacon does make everything better!
Looking for more Stews? Check out these recipes for more winter warmers!
- Chasseur Style Beef Stew
- Chicken Stew with Lemon, potatoes, artichokes and olives
- Cider Vinegar braised chicken with carrots and noodles
- St. Patricks Beef and Guinness Stew
Beer, bacon, caramalized onions and beef combine in a crockpot version of the Belgian classic beef stew!
- 4 slices bacon chopped
- 2 lbs beef chuck cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup flour
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 3 yellow onions thinly sliced
- 1 12 oz. bottle belgian style ale
- 1 cup beef stock
- 2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
Notes: if your crockpot does not have a saute function, use a skillet and transfer the ingredients to the crockpot.
Add the bacon to the crockpot and set on the medium saute setting. Cook the bacon until crisp, about 3 minutes.
Remove the bacon and set aside.
Toss the beef with the flour and season with salt and pepper.
Add the beef to the crockpot in batches and brown the beef, keeping the crockpot set to the medium saute setting.
Remove the beef as it browns and set aside.
After browning all the beef, add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 - 20 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelized.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add 1/2 of the beer and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Let reduce for about 4 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients except the bacon.
Cook on medium for approximately 3 hours or until the beef is tender when pierced with a fork.
Add the bacon and taste, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve over noodles, rice or with a side of bread to sop up the sauce.