Flemish Beef Stew Recipe - Rich and Hearty Flavors Cooked with Belgian Beer

Flemish Beef Stew

Flemish Beef Stew Recipe - Rich and Hearty Flavors Cooked with Belgian Beer
Region / culture: Belgium, France | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes | Servings: 4


Flemish Beef Stew
Flemish Beef Stew

Flemish Beef Stew is a hearty and flavorful dish that originated in Belgium. This stew is made with tender chunks of beef, onions, and a rich stout or porter beer that gives it a deep and complex flavor. It is traditionally served with crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.


Flemish Beef Stew, also known as "Carbonnade Flamande," has been a popular dish in Belgium for centuries. It is believed to have originated in the Flanders region of the country, where beer is a common ingredient in many traditional dishes. The use of beer in this stew adds a unique depth of flavor and helps to tenderize the beef as it cooks slowly.


How to prepare

  1. Blanch the salt pork in boiling water for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain and rinse well, then pat dry.
  3. Transfer the salt pork to a heavy large skillet and cook over medium heat until lightly browned.
  4. Remove the salt pork from the skillet using a slotted spoon and set aside for use in salads or other dishes.
  5. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the beef to the skillet in batches (do not overcrowd) and cook until well browned on all sides, turning with a spatula.
  6. Transfer the browned meat to a heavy 2 to 3 qt (2.84 liter) saucepan.
  7. Add the onions to the skillet and reduce the heat slightly. Cook until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Blend in the flour and cook for about 30 seconds, watching carefully to prevent the flour from burning.
  9. Add the stout and stir, scraping up any browned bits.
  10. Bring the mixture to a boil. Pour it over the beef.
  11. Blend in the vinegar, sugar, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme.
  12. Cover the saucepan and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes.
  13. Spread mustard over the bread and press the bread into the stew.
  14. Cover and cook until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
  15. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Serve immediately.


  • Add carrots or mushrooms to the stew for added flavor and texture.
  • Use a different type of beer, such as a Belgian ale or a lager, to change up the flavor profile.
  • Substitute the beef with pork or lamb for a different twist on this classic dish.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to brown the meat in batches to ensure that it gets a nice sear on all sides.

- Cooking the onions until they are deep golden brown will add a rich sweetness to the stew.

- Using a good quality stout or porter will enhance the flavor of the dish.

- Letting the stew simmer slowly will help to tenderize the beef and allow the flavors to meld together.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Flemish Beef Stew with crusty bread or over mashed potatoes for a complete meal. A side salad or steamed vegetables would also complement this dish nicely.

Cooking Techniques

Browning the meat before simmering it in the beer will add depth of flavor to the stew.

- Simmering the stew slowly over low heat will help to tenderize the beef and allow the flavors to develop.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use bacon or pancetta in place of the salt pork.

- Substitute red wine for the stout or porter for a different flavor profile.

- Use whole grain mustard in place of dijon mustard for a more rustic flavor.

Make Ahead Tips

Flemish Beef Stew can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. The flavors will continue to develop as it sits, making it even more delicious the next day.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Flemish Beef Stew in a rustic bowl with a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top. A slice of crusty bread on the side will complete the meal.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Flemish Beef Stew with a Belgian ale or a glass of red wine for a perfect match. A side of roasted vegetables or a green salad would also complement this dish nicely.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

320 per serving


32g per serving


- Total Fat: 12g per serving

- Saturated Fat: 4g per serving


- Protein: 28g per serving

Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin A: 4% DV

- Vitamin C: 10% DV

- Iron: 20% DV


Contains gluten from the bread

- May contain soy from the dijon mustard


Flemish Beef Stew is a rich and hearty dish that is high in protein and iron. It is a satisfying meal that is perfect for a cold winter day.


Flemish Beef Stew is a classic Belgian dish that is rich, hearty, and full of flavor. This stew is perfect for a cozy night in or a special dinner with friends and family. Enjoy it with a glass of beer or wine and some crusty bread for a truly satisfying meal.

How did I get this recipe?

The memory of finding this recipe for the first time brings a smile to my face. It was a crisp autumn day, the leaves were changing colors and the air was filled with the scent of spices and hearty dishes. I was visiting a quaint little village in Belgium, known for its delicious cuisine and warm hospitality.

As I wandered the cobblestone streets, I stumbled upon a charming little bistro tucked away in a corner. The aroma of simmering beef and rich, savory herbs wafted out of the open windows, drawing me in like a magnet. I could not resist the temptation to peek inside and see what culinary delights awaited me.

Stepping through the door, I was greeted by a cozy, rustic interior, with wooden beams overhead and the comforting crackle of a fireplace in the corner. The walls were adorned with vintage cookware and old-fashioned utensils, giving the place a timeless charm. I took a seat at a small table near the window and eagerly perused the menu, my stomach growling in anticipation.

That's when I saw it - Flemish Beef Stew. The description alone made my mouth water: tender chunks of beef simmered in a rich, velvety sauce made with caramelized onions, dark ale, and fragrant spices. It was a dish that promised warmth and comfort, the perfect meal for a chilly autumn evening.

I wasted no time in ordering the stew, eager to taste the flavors that had captured my imagination. When the dish arrived, it exceeded all my expectations. The beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender, the sauce was thick and flavorful, and the combination of sweet and savory notes danced on my taste buds in perfect harmony.

After savoring every last bite, I knew I had to learn how to make this dish for myself. I approached the chef, a kindly older woman with a twinkle in her eye, and asked if she would be willing to share her recipe with me. To my delight, she agreed, and we spent the rest of the afternoon in her kitchen, cooking and chatting like old friends.

She showed me how to brown the beef to perfection, how to slowly caramelize the onions until they were golden and sweet, and how to deglaze the pan with dark ale to create a rich, complex sauce. She also shared her secret ingredient - a touch of brown sugar to balance out the flavors and enhance the depth of the dish.

As we cooked together, she regaled me with stories of her own grandmother, who had passed down the recipe to her many years ago. She spoke of family gatherings around the table, the laughter and love that filled the air, and the way that food had always been a way to bring people together.

By the time we finished cooking, the stew was ready to be served. We sat down at the same table where I had first tasted it, and I took my first bite with eager anticipation. The flavors were even better than I remembered, a symphony of tastes and textures that warmed me from the inside out.

As I savored the stew, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the chef who had shared her recipe with me, and for the generations of women who had passed it down through the ages. I knew that this dish would become a treasured part of my own culinary repertoire, a link to the past and a symbol of the power of food to connect us all.

And so, whenever I make Flemish Beef Stew now, I think back to that day in the bistro, to the kind chef who taught me the recipe, and to the joy of discovering a new culinary tradition. It is a dish that brings me comfort and reminds me of the simple pleasures in life, and for that, I am truly grateful.


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