This Recipe uses:
- Beef chunks
- Bacon lardons
- Bay leaf
- Beef stock
- Dried Thyme
- Dried Parsley
- Sandwich bread
- Dijon mustard
- (Optional) Dark beer like Guinness, Oud bruin, Brune Abbey beer or Flanders red
To cook without alcohol:
- Additional beef broth
- Wine vinegar
In the North of France and Belgium, the classic dish for centuries has been the Carbonade Flamande. Similar to the Boeuf Bourguignon recipe from the nearby region of Burgundy, it is a popular beef stew that can be found in most family homes.
It is called Stoofvlees in the Flemish language, and is also sometimes referred to as a Flemish stew. Traditionally slow-cooked for hours into a rich and hearty meal, it is made with beef, onions, leek and dark beer instead of wine.
But if you are like me and have no time to babysit over a stove for hours on end, you will want to use the instant pot. Easy to set up, and much quicker to cook, this delicious stew will be ready for dinner in no time. So let’s get cooking, shall we? Allons-y!
Cooking without alcohol
The Carbonade Flamande recipe leans heavily on the Boeuf Bourguignon from the region of Burgundy (Bourgogne), so it stands to reason that since the boeuf bourguignon includes alcohol, the carbonade flamande does as well.
Since the carbonade flamande comes from the north of France and Belgium however, it includes dark beers which are very popular and produced in the area.
The slow cooking time is meant to assure that any alcohol has long been cooked off, and locally I see that French parents don’t hesitate to serve it to their kids. Nevertheless, for various reasons you may not want to cook with alcohol.
In this case, I would recommend adding an additional 1.5 cups of beef broth and about 1 tablespoons of wine vinegar. You can also try a beef pot-au-feu which adds more vegetables, but no alcohol.
Sliced bread and Dijon Mustard
The traditional recipe for a carbonade flamande includes a nod to another local specialty, the dijon mustard. In order to thicken the stew, two slices of ordinary sandwich bread are slathered lightly with dijon mustard and mixed into the stew.
The bread is meant to disintegrate into the stew, thickening it up, with the dijon adding that extra kick.
In addition, there are a lot of spices on the list, but in essence this is a French bouquet garni. You don’t need to have every single one, a French bouquet garni involves mixing and matching what you have.
Frequently asked questions
What to serve with it?
In France, Carbonade flamande is traditionally served with served with rice, steamed potatoes, or mashed potatoes. But it can also be served grilled bread or baguette that has been lathered with garlic butter.
But there are many other accompaniments that go very well with beef stew, such as brown rice, white rice, green lentils, polenta, or even bulgur.
What drinks to serve with it?
Traditionally in France, the carbonade flamande is served with light red such as one from Beaujolais or Bourgogne with lower tannins so as not to compete with the stew. You can read more about French wines here.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, carbonade flamande is one of those recipes that tastes better the next day. You can easily put aside portions in an airtight container and put in the freezer.
- 1 Kg of Beef Chunk cut into medium-sized portions
- 1 cup of lardons (or 6 strips of bacon sliced into small pieces)
- 1 onion chopped up
- 1 carrot sliced
- 1 leek sliced
- 1.5 cups of dark beer (eg. Guinness, Oud bruin, Brune Abbey beer or Flanders red)
- 2 cubes of beef stock (bouillon) mixed into 2 cups of water.
- 1 garlic clove chopped up
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 4 sprigs of parsley
- 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
- 2 slices of sandwich bread
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the beef, bacon, and butter in the Instant pot and sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except the flour, bread and mustard), and set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 45 minutes.
- Once the countdown has finished, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
- Mix in the flour with a tablespoon of water to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the Instant Pot.
- Spread the mustard on the sliced bread and add it into the Instant pot.
- Press the Sauté button again for 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken and the bread disintegrate into the stew while mixing.
- Let the carbonade flamande rest for 10 minutes on the Keep Warm function.
- Taste to add salt and pepper if necessary.
The alcohol usually cooks off by the time it is served, but if you don't want to use beer, replace it with:
- Additional 1.5 cups of beef broth
- 1 tbsp of wine vinegar
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 942Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 270mgSodium: 397mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 79g
Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that you can make in an instant pot. Bon appétit and à bientôt !