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Carbonnades a la Flamande (Beef and onions braised in beer)

(Food styling/Karoline Boehm Goodnick; pat greenhouse/globe staff)
By Karoline Boehm Goodnick
March 11, 2009

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Serves 4

Popular in Belgium for centuries, this dish was standard dinner party fare in this country about 50 years ago and is suddenly appearing again. It doesn't require much preparation and is loaded with flavor. Brown lean beef and lots of onions, and simmer them in a dark Belgian-style beer. You can use stew beef and increase the cooking time to 1 hour. The liquid cooks down to a dark sauce, so the dish isn't a beauty. But throw on a pot of water for buttered noodles or parsley potatoes and you have a fine retro meal.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound lean beef such as top round, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
24 ounces beer
1. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the vegetable oil over high heat.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the beef in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until the meat is brown. Remove it from the pan and set aside.

3. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until they soften. Add the garlic, thyme, and beer. Stir well to loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the meat to the pan. Let the mixture return to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender when tested with a fork.

4. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

Notes: