Carbonnade of beef -*-

Yield: 4 + servings

Measure Ingredient
2 pounds Beef shoulder or round, cut
\N \N Into 1/4\" slices, the edges
\N \N Slashed
4 mediums Onions, halved lengthwise
\N \N And thinly sliced
⅓ cup Olive oil
\N \N Salt
2 teaspoons Brown sugar
3 tablespoons Flour
\N If needed, add more oil to skillet, and brown slices of beef
2 cups Beer, or to taste, preferaby
\N \N A dark beer
1 cup Stock (canned is fine)
2 smalls Bay leaves
2 teaspoons Finely crumbled mixed dried
\N \N Herbs (thyme, savory, and
\N \N Marjoram)
\N \N Pepper

The objective of a Carbonnade is to build up carbonized glazes in the skillet used to brown the meat and onions. The deglazing produces a rich liquid used to subsequently braise the ingredients in the oven.

The type and amount of beer used will determine the sharpness of this dish. In any event, the beer will lend a slightly bitter undertone, which is desirable. But an overly strong beer flavor will overwhelm the sweetness of the onions. Select the beer accordingly. Any will work, even flat beer, but a dark beer will give a rich color and flavor to the dish. Stout or porter is perfect.

Saute the onions in about 3 tablespoons of the oil over low heat in a large skillet. Stir regularly until softened and lightly carmelized. If necessary, turn up heat to color the onions. When done, empty onions into a sieve placed over a bowl, and return the drained oil to the skillet. Make sure no onion bits remain in the skillet.

that have been salted. Do not crowd the beef. If you have to, brown in two or three shifts. Remove browned pieces to the sieve with the onions, to drain. Continue pouring the drained fat and oil back into the skillet.

When all the meat has been browned and removed, turn heat to low and add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve. Add flour, stirring for a few more moments. Deglaze with the beer, adding slowly, and stirring to scrape all the carmelized bits from the skillet. Stir in the stock. Taste for salt.

Assembly: Layer the meat in a casserole, alternating with the onions, ending with a layer of meat. With each layer of onions, place a bay leaf and sprinkle some of the herbs. Finally, pour over all the deglazing liquid. The meat and onions should be barely immersed. If more liquid is needed, add more beer, stock, or just water, depending on your taste.

Bring to a boil on top of the stove. Then, cover tightly and place in a 325 oven for about three hours, testing for tenderness after about 2½ hours. Before serving, skim the fat from the surface. Season with pepper at the table. The resulting dish is a bit of Heaven!

Serve with steamed potatoes or noodles.

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