If you’re Daniel Boulud, the answer to the question is, apparently not. And while we weren’t previously familiar with the practice, we’re pretty sure it will reappear in Gourmandistan.
Looking around for something stew-ish, we once again turned to the overlooked Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine for inspiration. We found a recipe for “Carbonnade à la Flamande,” which called for an entire beef shoulder roast marinated overnight in crème fraîche, then braised with crumbled gingersnaps and marmalade.
While we did see it as unusual, we also saw this recipe as an exciting opportunity to use a tiny bit of our several remaining jars of orange marmalade. We enjoy the stuff, but seem to have very limited ideas on how to use it that mainly involve English muffin coating (and we’re currently out of English muffins).
We scorned the overnight marinade and the entire shoulder bit, opting instead for chunks of stew beef, because we were both impatient and desirous of additional browning surfaces. We also ignored the recipe’s incomprehensible call for multiple sauces and garnishes, which may have been due to editing errors in the seemingly cheesy (yet so useful!) discount reprint edition of the cookbook that we own. We did, however, spring for an expensive bottle of actual Belgian Chimay ale.
Despite our alterations, the carbonnade was quite delicious, the gingersnaps adding a hint of spice and the marmalade offering a lovely citrus counterpoint to the beery, bacon-y sauce. As long as we have jars of marmalade (and thanks to Michelle’s industriousness, that could be some time), we’ll definitely be adding it to carbonnade.
(adapted from Daniel Boulud and Melissa Clark’s Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine)
- 2-1/2 to 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into approximately 1-1/2 to 2″ chunks (we cut up a chuck roast)
- 2 TB olive oil
- 2 slices smoked bacon, chopped into lardons
- 2 small or 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. or so of dried
- 1 bay leaf
- Black pepper
- 1 large (25.4 ounce) bottle Chimay ale (or two 12-ounce bottles of similar beer or ale)
- 1 c. water
- 1 TB Dijon mustard
- 1 TB orange marmalade, puréed in a mini food processor
- 1/3 c. gingersnap crumbs
- 1/2 c. crème fraîche
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- Chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 275° F.
Season meat with salt.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven. Over high heat, brown half of the beef, then remove to a plate. Add remaining oil and brown remainder of beef. Remove to plate.
Cook bacon in the pot, stirring, until it is mostly done. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon and put with the beef on the plate.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized.
Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf, pepper and ale. Bring to a simmer, stirring any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in water, mustard, marmalade, cookie crumbs and crème fraîche. Then add reserved beef and bacon. Bring to a simmer.
Cover and place in center of oven. Cook for about 2 hours, until meat is tender.
Add vinegar. Check for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper and mustard if needed.
Serve with egg noodles, tossed with butter and poppy seeds. Sprinkle with parsley.