Carbonnade a la Flamande (Belgian Beef, Beer, and Onion Stew)
Why This Recipe Works
In a good carbonnade recipe, the heartiness of the beef should meld with the soft sweetness of sliced onions in a lightly thickened broth laced with the malty flavor of beer. Our tests revealed that the small, long, shoulder-cut blade steak was our best beef option, given its generous fat marbling, which provides flavor and a tender, buttery texture. Lots of thinly sliced yellow onions found their way into the pot next, and a spoonful of tomato paste and a couple of minced garlic cloves boosted the flavor. The key element of this Belgian stew, however, was the dark, potent ale, bathing the chunks of tender meat and the slivers of sweet onions. This beer, combined with equal portions of chicken and beef broth, gave us a beef stew with a strong, complex flavor.