I wish I could remember what originally inspired me to develop this recipe. Maybe I just figured that I like beer and I like beef, and I really love carbonnade, so I should just run with it an turn it into a beef stew with more typical ingredients. And this is the result: a multi-layered stew packed with coordinating flavors with beef that melts on your tongue and a broth with a luxurious mouth-feel. Utterly delicious and satisfying, ideal to warm you up on a brisk fall day!
Belgian Beer, Beef, and Barley Stew
A Jitterbean Original
You will need:
- 3.5lbs stew meat, cut into stew-sized chunks (needs to have some marbling)
- 25oz bottle of Chimay Belgian trappist ale, any color, but the recipe was made up with red.
- 5 carrots, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then chopped crosswise into half-moons
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- About 1/3 cup Dijon or deli mustard (not the plain yellow stuff)
- 1 14oz bag frozen cut green beans
- 1 14oz bag frozen pearl onions
- 28oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 1/3 cup uncooked barley
- 3 cups beef stock
- Extra water
- Several sprigs fresh thyme or oregano
- Salt & pepper
- Place the beef in a bowl and pour the beer over it. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Drain the beef, reserving the beer. Dry the beef, season with salt and pepper, and then brown it over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or soup pot (at least 5qt in size). Work in several batches so you don’t over-crowd the meat, which will stream it instead of browning it. If the fond at the bottom of the pot appears to be burning, pour a little of the reserved beer or beef stock into the pot and scrape up the bits with a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour off the liquid and reserve it. Repeat until all the beef is browned.
- If needed, add a little olive oil to the pan and add the carrots. Let the carrots begin to brown, then add the tomato paste, mustard, green beans, and pearl onions. Stir well to combine and coat the veg with the mustard. Add the diced tomatoes, reserved beer, barley, beef stock, thyme, the beef, any accumulated/reserved juices, and some extra water for the barley to absorb as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, and cook gently until the beef is very tender and easily shredded with a fork and the barley is starting expand, about two hours. Remove thyme sprigs and either serve or store, as this stew is better the next day.