French chef, Cecile Loubaud recently paid a visit to the Community Learning Centre at Pendeford near Wolverhampton where he showed the men (and women!) how to cook a Flemish Beef Stew.
The recipe for (shown below) Carbonade Flamande was rounded off nicely with a bottle of Bathams Special Strong Ale, which Cecile felt enhanced the meat perfectly.
Bathams donated 20 bottles to the class, allowing all students to enjoy the recipe to it’s fullest! Pictured is the group of men learning to cook better meals – including Michael Kirk, award winning Wolverhampton butcher.
Carbonade Flamande (Flemish Beef Stew) – Made with Bathams Special Strong Ale
Recipe from Cecile Loubaud – Serves 2
This is a classic dish from Belgium and the Northern France. The word comes from the Italian carbonate (charcoal-grilled). Beef is the favourite meat of the Northerner and the Belgium, close by offers hundreds of different beers.
What gives meat its flavour?
Most of meat’s flavour develops when it is cooked. The amount of fat in meat influences its flavour, as does a process called the Maillard* reaction. Flavour can also be added to meat through brining and marinating.
The Maillard reaction occurs when the denatured proteins on the surface of the meat recombine with the sugars present. The combination creates the “meaty” flavour and changes the colour. For this reason, it is also called the browning reaction. As many as six hundred components have been identified in the aroma of beef.
*Louis Camille Maillard (1878-1936) was a French physician and chemist.
500g of beef (chuck cut into 5mm thick slices)
4 thick bacon slices cut into cubes.
3 onions roughly diced (mirepoix)
3 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, parsley, thyme)
1 bottle of Batham’s Special Strong Ale
1/2 litre beef stock
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
4/5 slices of bread
2/3 tbsp brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 170°, gas mark 3.
- Make sure the pieces of beef are thoroughly dry, using paper towels.
- In a flame-proof casserole, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the bacon cubes and fry them until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve.
- Make sure your flame-proof casserole is thoroughly heated. Place the pieces of beef, without superposing them in the casserole and brown them on all sides. (Maillard reaction) Do not use a fork to turn the meat, as you will let the blood escape. Remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve.
Place the onions and garlic on the bottom of the casserole and cook until transparent (lightly golden). Season.
- Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Cook until a light caramelisation appears then add the red wine vinegar.
- Mix thoroughly then cook for 2 minutes.
- Reintroduce the beef and bacon to the dish. Mix carefully to make sure there is a full marriage of the flavours of the meat with the onions.
- Pour the beer Batham’s Special Strong Ale then the beef stock until the meat is entirely cover with liquid.
- Add the bouquet garni.
- Cut the slices of bread then spread Dijon mustard on the bread.
- Cover the meat with the bread.
- Place in the oven. The carbonade should cook slowly between 2 and 3 hours.
- When cooked mix the bread thoroughly by breaking it up in the dish, the bread works as a thickener for the sauce.
- Taste then adjust the seasoning.
In Belgium the carbonade will be served with chips.
In Northern France, its will be served with either braised chicory in butter or red cabbage.
Don’t forget to serve with a Batham’s Special Strong Ale!