CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Until very recently, West Virginia beer consumers would have found it difficult to cook up an authentic Carbonade Flamande, a Flemish beef stew which happens to be Belgium's national dish. The stew requires a specific style of slightly sour Flemish ale be used in the making.
The Petrus line of Belgian ales has made its way into area beer retailers. Specifically, Petrus Oud Bruin (pronounced "Owd Broon"), meaning "Old Brown Ale," which on its own is a delicious, complex ale worth savoring. Oud Bruin has an even higher calling though. In this stew recipe, it's almost as important as the beef!
Petrus and many other fine Belgian ales are widely available around the greater Charleston and Huntington areas. Most Belgian aged and sour beers are considerably more expensive than your standard bottle of Bud, so be warned.
Here is my recipe for a real Flemish feast that will warm you to your ribs on these cold winter nights -- and don't hesitate to pair the very same beer with the stew!
Carbonade Flamande (Flemish Beef Stew)
2 pounds beef short ribs, cubed and patted dry
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 medium onions, sliced or chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Big pinch thyme
Small pinch nutmeg
1 tablespoon gourmet mustard
Half stick butter
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can beef consommé (Campbell's), thinned with 1/3 can of water
1 bottle (33 cl) Petrus Oud Bruin Flemish ale
ADD some salt and pepper to flour and coat the beef cubes lightly.
MELT butter and heat with oil in a skillet on medium (do not burn butter).
BROWN the beef cubes and gently turn to brown all sides.