Carbonnade flamande

Carbonnade flamande

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(30 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr, 15 mins - 1 hr, 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs Plus marinating overnight

More effort

Serves 4
Cook a classic ale casserole with chunks of meaty beef

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal830
  • fat42g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs23g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre3g
  • protein86g
  • salt3.17g
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  • 1¼kg stewing beef, cut into 4cm cubes



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 400ml Trappist ale such as Leffe or Chimay, or other dark ale
  • 3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 250g diced pancetta



    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

  • 2 carrots, sliced



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 onions, sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 leek, sliced



    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 350ml beef stock
  • 1 bouquet garni (a small bunch of thyme, parsley stalks, a bay leaf and about 6 peppercorns tied in muslin)


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • a handful of parsley, chopped



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…


  1. Marinate the beef overnight in the ale with the garlic and bay leaves. The next day, drain the beef from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and toss it in the seasoned flour until evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour.

  2. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole until hot. Fry the beef in 3-4 batches for about 5 minutes per batch, stirring occasionally, until it is a rich golden brown all over. You may need to add a little more oil between batches but make sure it is hot again before adding the next batch. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside. Don’t worry if the bottom of the casserole is starting to brown, this all adds to the flavour of the finished dish.

  3. Lower the heat to medium and fry the pancetta in the casserole for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden. Scoop the pancetta out with a slotted spoon and set aside with the beef.

  4. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/gas 3. Tip the carrots, onions and leek into the casserole and fry, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown – this takes about 12 minutes. Spoon in the tomato purée and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

  5. Add the beef and pour in the reserved marinade. Bring to a simmer, scraping any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan, then add all the beef stock and bouquet garni to the casserole. Season with salt and pepper and bring everything to the boil. Remove from the heat. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours, stirring once halfway through. (The carbonnade may now be left to cool and frozen for up to 1 month. Add 100ml/31⁄2 fl oz more stock to the sauce when reheating.) When the beef is ready, taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Scatter the chopped parsley over the top and serve straight from the casserole, with creamy mash or jacket potatoes and buttered greens or cabbage.

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Comments, questions and tips

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6th Oct, 2019
I have made this twice now with whatever beer I had in, I halved the recipe and used my own judgement regarding how much liquid to add (enough to just cover the meat), I do as instructed and scrape off the bits that have stuck to the bottom of a heavy based casserole, they add to the flavour, I use sun dried tomato paste which adds flavour and smoked bacon instead of pancetta. Also I cook it for at least three hours, checking every hour. It is delicious, rich thick gravy, very tasty with mashed potatoes and spring greens.
Robin Guy's picture
Robin Guy
17th Nov, 2018
I found the gravy a bit thin and watery. Other recipes add flour to the fried onions. I have made the other recipe and found it rich and thicker.
Deborah Cheyne's picture
Deborah Cheyne
18th Feb, 2018
First tried this in France and had to find a recipe. Have made this about five times now following the recipe to the letter and it has now become a staple recipe, absolutely delicious. I use any Belgian Ale and not disappointed, don't think it matters what you use. I do have to scrape the bottom of casserole and discard after browning the meat.... as it burns horribly. Would recommend eating the day after made as flavours more intense, if you have any left. Serve with sweet potato mash as a base, spoon over and enjoy.
26th Nov, 2017
Thank you for the comments regarding the actual dish, which have been helpful, unlike the ones stating whether or not the ales are Trappiste or Abbey - yaaaawwwwwn!
mistinguett's picture
15th Feb, 2017
Cooked this several times now, adding clove to to the bouquet garni and a slice of typical Belgian gingerbread to it seems to do the trick. Testing Guiness in the recipe this time!
8th Dec, 2015
Leffe is NOT a Trappiste beer; it is produced apparently in an abbey, but it is commercial. Chimay is brewed by Trappiste monks and it comes in different strengths, strong, stronger and even stronger, and they are all wonderful.
24th Nov, 2016
Almost. Leffe is an Abbey beer which basically means it can be Trappiste like but not brewed by monks as what defines Trappiste. Leffe is brewed by the great satan of breweries, i.e., AB Inbev. Chimay is a real Trappiste - there are 5 Trappiste breweries in Belgium and another in the Netherlands.
22nd Jul, 2015
Loved it when I tried an original one, and loved it when I recreated it. Thanks for the recipe!
Arlandria's picture
15th Sep, 2014
I made this as per the recipe using Leffe brun. It was bland, flavourless, and - while not tasting unpleasant - not worth the effort of eating it. It looked nothing like the picture - the sauce was grey and vapid-looking. As another commenter stated, Leffe is not a trappist ale. I suspect that this would be improved by using a more flavoursome beer, but honestly, it still lacks any real flavour, and certainly doesn't compare to the Flemish carbonnades I've had. There's no depth of flavour, and no high note. Thoroughly disappointing, especially since GoodFood recipes are usually so reliable.
11th Jan, 2013
I've made this several times and it's even better cooked and left overnight to soak up the flavours.


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