Beer-Braised Beef and Onions
This hearty, warming beef and onion stew is flavored with Belgian beer, bay leaves and sweet paprika. A variation on a traditional Flemish carbonnade, it’s rich and homey but still lively, with a ruddy color from the paprika. The very large quantity of onions adds sweetness, and also helps make the sauce velvety soft. Serve it over potatoes, noodles or polenta.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 1tablespoon kosher salt, more as needed
- 1teaspoon black pepper, more for garnish
- 6bay leaves
- 2teaspoons sweet paprika, more for garnish
- 4pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 4Spanish or very large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 6sprigs fresh thyme
- 4sprigs fresh parsley, plus chopped parsley, for garnish
- 1tablespoon tomato paste
- 1teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2cups beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1cup beer, preferably Belgian-style or brown ale
- Flaky sea salt, for garnish
- Dijon-style mustard, preferably extra-hot, for serving
Step 1In a large bowl, combine salt, pepper, bay leaves and paprika. Toss meat to coat, then cover, refrigerate and marinate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Step 2Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large (8-quart) Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat butter and oil over medium-high until shimmering. Working in batches, brown beef on two sides until dark and crusty, transferring to a bowl when browned (reserve bay leaves). As you cook, add more oil and adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.
Step 3When all the meat is browned, add onions to the empty pot and return the heat to medium-high if you lowered it. Cook, stirring and scraping up the brown coating on the bottom of the pan as the onions release their liquid.
Step 4Continue cooking until onions are deeply golden brown and soft, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 5Meanwhile, make a bouquet garni by tying thyme, parsley and reserved bay leaves together with kitchen string (or just throw them in the pot and warn your guests not to eat them).
Step 6Push the onions to the sides, then add tomato paste, coriander and cinnamon to the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring, 1 minute, until paste is darkened and fragrant. Stir in flour, cook another minute, then add stock, beer, 1 cup water and bouquet garni. Return beef and any juices in the bowl to the pot, bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Cook until beef is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning it over halfway through.
Step 7If the sauce seems thin, remove the meat with a slotted spoon; cover with foil to keep warm. Return pot with liquid to stove and simmer until thickened to taste, 5 to 10 minutes. Return the meat to pot and stir to heat through. Serve from the pot or a platter. Garnish with chopped parsley, flaky sea salt, pepper and paprika. Serve with mustard on the side.