Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Flemish Stew = Silent Devouring

Every mother should have a few recipes in her recipe arsenal, that brings about a humbled silence. Food so tasty, words are forgotten so that food can be continuously eaten without interruption. I think I may have found another recipe that falls into that category. It's also one of those cold weather comfort foods, so it has that going for it as well. For this recipe, I thank the Dutch people of Flemish. Apparently, this dish is so wonderful, it is the national Belgian dish. This recipe can be found all over the web, and I consulted three different recipes and only played within the boundaries of what appeared to be the norm. If I get adventurous and find certain additions that make it even better, I'll make note of it here. So, take your family on a culinary adventure.

  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 2 pounds bottom round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound sliced cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups brown ale or dark beer
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the beef and brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Drain any fat from the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and brown the remaining beef. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Return the skillet to medium heat, add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they give off their liquid and it evaporates to a glaze, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms; cook undisturbed for 10 seconds, then stir and cook for 30 seconds more. Pour in ale (or beer); bring to a boil, whisking constantly to reduce foaming, until thickened and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the slow cooker.
  3. Add carrots, onion, garlic, mustard, caraway seeds, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  4. Put the lid on and cook on low until the beef is very tender, about 8 hours. Discard the bay leaf before serving.
I served this dish with cheese bread and concluded, you couldn't do too much more with it to make it better. My husband and I mused that you could make a fresh tomato salsa to have on top to add a sweetness to it or a hard cheese sprinkled on top. Either way, the boys devoured it and were almost quiet the whole time.

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