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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Two skillet carbonnade

I was given a recipe for carbonnade by a loyal blog reader, who is a very experienced cook.

While I almost never follow a recipe exactly, this one I followed to the letter.

Make sure the skillet you intend to cook the onions in has a lid, because you'll need one. The one you'll be browning the beef in does not need a lid.

Pour one bottle of Heineken into a bowl and let it sit at room temp until it goes flat.

Slice a sweet onion (vidalia if possible). Melt 2 tbsp butter in a skillet on LOW heat. Saute the onions, stir frequently, don't let them brown.

Cut a roast into cubes, dry them on a paper towel, add salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour.

This recipe did not say to age the meat 5 days, but I wonder if that should be done with carbonnade?

In a separate skillet, heat another 2 tbsp butter on MEDIUM* heat to sizzling.

*LOW heat for the onions, MEDIUM heat for the meat.

Brown the meat; Don't crowd the pieces. Do 2 batches if necessary to not crowd them.

Remove the meat when browned and set on the inverted skillet lid, so as not to lose the juices.

Deglaze the skillet with some of the beer. If the onions are translucent, add the liquid to the onions, along with the beef and the rest of the beer.

Add a bay leaf and a pinch of turbinado. Cover, into the oven at 225, for 2 1/2 hours.

This is supposed to be served with boiled new potatoes, so I better figure out how to make those.

I put it in the fridge for the night. The liquid is, well, liquid, and I like a thick sauce. So when I reheat it, I'll probably add Wondra flour to thicken*.

*I didn't need to. I decided to reheat it along with some leftover cooked rice. The rice almost completely absorbed the liquid. Yum.

I'll probably also add onion powder and garlic powder, because I almost always do.

Then add pickles and cheese. Just kidding!

Told you I almost never follow a recipe exactly.


  1. It was pretty good when I tasted it... it tasted like beef slow cooked in beer. Because it was beef slow cooked in beer...

  2. Have you ever considered thickening with a cornstarch paste? Or for a really delicate dish, with arrowroot? Just askin...

  3. Yes, in fact I do have cornstarch. You mean, cornstarch with cold water in a cup, mix and pour?

    I don't have arrow root.

    I discovered Wondra flour last year. I had no idea it was a special flour meant for thickening gravies. It doesn't clump when you pour it in.

  4. Yes, cornstarch with cold water in a cup, mix and pour. It's one time-honored way of thickening a sauce without skewing the flavor.

    The other traditional method is to make a roux by working flour and butter into little marble-sized balls (these can be made ahead and used as needed) that you add, stirring, to your sauce.

  5. roux can be made two ways: blond roux is made with butter, and dark roux is made with oil.

    you might be able to make a dark roux with butter, but I have not successfully.