Carbonnade a la Flamande (Belgian Beef, Beer, and Onion Stew)

Prepare….to lick your plate.

Oh my. I can not even begin to describe how wonderfully magical this stew tastes. Wa-wow. The recipe comes from my favorite magazine, Cook’s Illustrated. Do not let the fancy schmancy name of this recipe scare you away. It’s really a quite simple and elegant recipe. However, I was not elegant when I ate the stew. Yes, I’ll admit it. I licked my plate. Like a dog. Then I licked my plate some more. And perhaps, a small moan may have  escaped my lips as I was licking the plate. Perhaps. I will keep that little morsel of information to myself. 🙂

I made a couple itty bitty changes to the original Cook’s Illustrated recipe. I added mushrooms (I think next time I will also add some carrots) and 1 tablespoon of butter to saute them in. I also used dried thyme (instead of fresh thyme). The recipe calls for a Belgian beer or other dark beer such as Newcastle Brown Ale. I actually used Sam Adam’s Boston Lager…..and it tasted divine.

RECIPE: Carbonnade a la Flamande (Belgian Beef, Bear, and Onion Stew)

Ingredients:
3 1/2 pounds stew meat

Kosher salt, table salt and coarse ground black pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 pounds yellow onions halved and aliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 8 cups)

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup low sodium beef broth

1-1/2 cups dark beer (12 ounce bottle or can)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves

1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Dry beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke; add about one-third of beef to pot. Cook without moving pieces until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes; using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until second side is well browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer browned beef to medium bowl. Repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and half of remaining beef. (If drippings in bottom of pot are very dark, add about 1/2 cup of above-listed chicken or beef broth and scrape pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits; pour liquid into bowl with browned beef, then proceed.) Repeat once more with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.
 
2. Set beef aside and add 1 T butter to pan and saute mushrooms until browned and tender. Remove and set aside with the beef.

3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and tomato paste; cook, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until onions have released some moisture, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes (note: I cooked my onions a little longer, I wanted them very soft and ). Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in broths, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits; stir in beer, thyme, bay leaves, vinegar, browned beef with any accumulated juices, mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to full boil, stirring occasionally; cover partially, then place pot in oven. Cook until fork inserted into beef meets little resistance, about 2 to 2- 1/2 hours. (I think I cooked my stew closer to 3 hours, until meat was super tender and the sauce was well-thickened…..I also stirred it occasionally while it was in the oven).

4. Discard bay leaves. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

I served the stew over mashed potatoes. Creamy, dreamy, marvelous mashed potatoes…

Good grief. I dare you to not lick your plate.

Southwestern Chicken Lasagna

This is a great alternative to traditional lasagna…and yummy and maybe a tad healthier. Or maybe not?  Heck, I don’t know. I tend to not pay much attention to those things….you know, like calories. I guess you could try low fat cheese if you would like. I personally think low fat cheese tastes like plastic and I avoid it all costs, but feel free to try it and screw up the recipe. Ha, just joking. I will admit that I’m not a huge fan of cottage cheese in lasagna…I much prefer the creamy texture of ricotta, but it really just melts away in this recipe……..I hope you will enjoy.

Ingredients:

9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions

4 egg whites, lightly beaten

3 cups low fat cottage cheese

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons green chiles

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

3 cups tomato soup

1-1/2 cups enchilada sauce, green

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 cups boneless skinless chicken, shredded (a store bought rotisserie chicken works great)

1-1/4 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded

1-1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine egg whites, cottage cheese, and fresh parsley in a medium bowl and set aside.

3.. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add green chiles, onions, and green peppers and saute until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Then stir in tomato soup, enchilada sauce, chili power, cumin, and cayenne. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Then remove from heat.

4. To assemble lasagna:

Pour half of the sauce in bottom of pan.

Top with 3 lasagna noodles, 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture, 1/2 of chicken, 1 cup of sauce, then 1/2 cup each of the monterey jack and cheddar cheese.

Repeat layer.

Top final layer with remaining sauce and 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses. Place dollops of sour cream on top.

Cover and bake for 50 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.

Mmm. Some other great additions to the recipe are jalapenos and black olives……