Legendary Dishes | Carbonnades Flamandes / Stoofvlees op Vlaamse Wijze (beef and beer stew)


The western goulash, a sweet slightly acidic traditional dish of the low countries centred on Flanders. Chimay and Rodenbach are the preferred traditional beers for this iconic dish. Leffe Brune is acceptable. Stale bread spread with mustard was the traditional method of thickening the liquid, now gingerbread with its subtle spice flavours is used.

  • 2 kg brisket / shoulder beef, cut into 3 cm pieces, seasoned
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 600 g onions, sliced
  • 375 ml dark brown beer 
  • 250 g fatty bacon, cubed
  • 2 slices gingerbread bread / white bread, crusts removed, spread with mustard
  • 60 g butter
  • 30 g brown sugar
  • 30 g white wheat flour
  • 30 g mustard
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 5 juniper berries, crushed
  • Green peppercorns, large pinch
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary 
  • 2 bay leaves

Brown beef in half the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pot over a medium heat in batches, remove and set aside. Add remaining butter and oil to pan, turn heat to low and sauté the bacon for five minutes, then the onions for 15 minutes. Stir the flour into the onions and brown lightly. Deglaze the pan with three tablespoons of stock, then pour in remaining stock with the beer and herbs and juniper berries. Bring slowly to the boil. Add the beef, then, if using, place the mustard bread on top, mustard side down or add the gingerbread and mustard. Add the garlic, black peppercorns and seasonings, turn heat to low to medium, and simmer for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally during second hour. Sweeten with sugar and cook for 30 minutes uncovered. Season, serve with pasta or potatoes, chipped or mashed.