Carbonnade à la Flamande/Stoofvlees| Eat Like a Local | Belgium

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I always get extremely excited whenever I get to know a blogger who’s been blogging for as long as I have (since 2010), so when Alison from CheeseWeb.eu asked if I’d like to feature one of her recipes on my blog, I jumped at the opportunity! Having established her blog no less than fifteen years ago (!), I actually think Alison may be one of the longest-established members of the blogging community worldwide. For this reason, I’m truly honoured to feature her on my blog, along with her scrumptious recipe for traditional Belgian Stoofvlees, also known as Carbonnade à la Flamande, or Carbonnade.

This is the tenth post in my Eat Like a Local guest post series (can you believe I’ve hit double numbers already?!) Read on to discover more about Alison and her recipe for Stoofvlees, or Carbonnade à la Flamande. This traditional Flemish stew is a classic Belgian dish of beef stewed in beer, served in a bread and mustard sauce. It’s slow-cooked for hours and hours, until the meat just falls apart. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard…

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Alison – Belgium

Slow travel blogger, Alison of CheeseWeb.eu

Tell us about yourself 

I’m Alison, from New Brunswick on Canada’s gorgeous east coast. After living in Belgium with my husband and menagerie of cats for 11 years, I now live (mostly) full-time in our RV, a Bigfoot motorhome called Yeti.

I’m a journalist and photographer by training but I’ve been running my primary website, CheeseWeb.eu, for over 15 years (way before blogs were a thing!)

We write about slow travel and understanding destinations through cultural travel. Of course, a large part of what makes up culture is food, and we love to try new things. We love to travel, eat, read, hike and we’re always looking for new, off-the-beaten-path adventures. We spent this summer driving from NB to Newfoundland via the Labrador Highway, where we put over 9000km on our RV!

My husband, Andrew is a tech guru, so we decided to put our skills together four years ago to found RockFort Media. Together, we help small businesses and entrepreneurs to tell their stories online. We build, host, and maintain websites, create and manage content, and offer social media consulting. Our clients are diverse and from a variety different backgrounds, so I find I am always learning something new about entirely random topics. It makes going to work every day fascinating.

When did you begin blogging, and why did you decide to start a blog?

I began blogging when we first moved to Belgium in 2004. At the time, it was simply a way to stay in touch with friends and family back in Canada.

I discovered there was very little information, in English, about things to do in the country. At that time, even the local tourism websites were only in Dutch and French. As I was writing about the places we visited, I soon found myself with an audience of expats eager to find things to do.

After three years, I decided to treat CheeseWeb like a business and grew it to be the largest English language website dedicated to travel in Belgium. As time went on, we found ourselves travelling beyond the borders of Belgium, so we decided to re-target CheeseWeb to focus on slow travel.

In 2015, we came back to Canada and we’ve been applying our slow travel philosophy to north America ever since. We have regular contributors in Belgium, Germany, the US and here in Canada, in addition to ourselves, so we’re always adding to our travel bucket list!

What is the best experience you have had as a blogger?

I’ve had so many amazing experiences that came about because of our website that it’s impossible to choose just one, although hot-air ballooning over the castles of the Dordogne in France was pretty special!

For me, the best thing has been being able to build the life we love – one of travel, constant learning, spending time together, and having the flexibility to be there for our families when they need us. It’s been mountains of hard work, but it has also been immensely rewarding.

What advice would you give to new bloggers who are just starting out?

If you’re trying to build a business from your blog, you must invest in yourself. Too many bloggers take the DIY approach, and their blog suffers for it. Don’t be afraid to pay for training to learn things from experts. If there’s something you don’t know how to do, or don’t enjoy doing, outsource it to someone who does.

Stoofvlees or Carbonnade à la Flamande (Flemish stew) 

Carbonnade a la Flamande a.k.a Stoofvlees - Flemish stew

So, why does this dish have two different names? Well, as Alison explains, because Belgium is half-French and half-Flemish (a dialect of Dutch), everything has two official names. In French, this dish is called Carbonnade à la Flamande (Flemish stew) and in Flemish, it’s known as Stoofvlees (literally ‘stew meat’). Alison’s take on this classic dish can be found below.

Carbonnade à la Flamande/Stoofvlees (Flemish stew)

Carbonnade à la Flamande or Stoofvlees consists of beef stewed in beer (Belgian, of course) with a sauce thickened with bread and mustard. It's simmered on low heat for hours until the meat melts in your mouth. 

Every family has their own recipe; some people add mushrooms or onions, or other vegetables. But everyone agrees – it is best served over Belgian frites (French fries, which were invented and perfected in Belgium).

Carbonnade is the perfect dish for a cold winter day. It’s extremely filling and it’s effortless to make – once everything is in the pot, it just simmers away.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Belgian, Flemish
Keyword Carbonnade, Carbonnade a la Flamande, Stoofvlees
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Author Alison Cornford-Matheson

Ingredients

  • 500 g stewing beef (the more marbled, the better as it will break down better) diced
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 bottle dark Belgian beer (I've also used Guinness in a pinch)
  • 2 slices bread (stale is fine, but remove any thick crusts or it will make the sauce lumpy)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Dijon mustard (I love tarragon mustard for this recipe) to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil or butter for browning the meat

Instructions

  1. In a [Ad]Dutch oven, brown the beef on all sides in oil or butter, then set the meat aside.

  2. Slowly fry the onion in the remaining oil/butter until soft and golden.

  3. Return the browned beef to the pan and pour in the beer.

  4. Add the thyme, bay, salt, and pepper.

  5. Spread mustard on one side of each slice of bread and add to the top of the beer/meat mixture, mustard side-down.

  6. Turn down the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the stew simmer until the meat is soft - usually 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally and add water or stock if the sauce gets too thick.

  7. Serve over fries or mashed potatoes.

What’s your favourite Belgian food, and will you be trying out Alison’s recipe for Stoofvlees/Carbonnade à la flamande?

Carbonnade A La Flamande is a Belgian beef and beer stew served with a bread and mustard sauce. Get the recipe here. #carbonnade #stew #beer #beef #belgium #belgianfood Stoofvlees is a traditional Belgian dish of beef stewed in beer (or bier), served with a bread and mustard sauce. Get the authentic recipe from a local here! #stoofvlees #bier #belgium #belgianfood

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18 Comments

  1. December 10, 2018 / 8:13 pm

    i liked the interview – fun to learn about new bloggers. And the recipe sounds like pure comfort food – yum!

    • December 11, 2018 / 8:02 am

      I know what you mean. It’s always nice to get to know a fellow blogger and Alison’s recipe looks perfect.

  2. December 10, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    That beef stew looks really tender and flavourful. I love the addition of beer, I bet it adds depth of flavour

    • December 11, 2018 / 8:01 am

      I love beer in cooking too. Most recently I used it to make Welsh rarebit, but I’m seriously looking forward to trying out this recipe.

  3. December 10, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    This looks so nice my hubby would be in to this so much.

    • December 11, 2018 / 8:00 am

      I am really looking forward to making this dish myself 🙂

  4. December 10, 2018 / 11:21 pm

    What a cool sounding blog….the experience of hot-air ballooning over the castles of the Dordogne sounds amazing!!

    • December 11, 2018 / 7:59 am

      I thought so too – I’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon!

  5. December 11, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    I love reading posts like this as its always nice to find out a little more about other bloggers! This looks like a delicious stew too, perfect winter warmer!

    • December 12, 2018 / 1:04 pm

      I love a hearty winter stew, there’s nothing quite like it to warm you up on a cold evening is there?

  6. December 13, 2018 / 5:44 pm

    So nice to learn about other bloggers. the recipe looks amazing

    • December 14, 2018 / 1:11 am

      Yeah, it’s too easy to just get wrapped up in what we’re doing and it’s great to listen to, and connect with, fellow bloggers.

  7. Leslie Van Damme
    December 13, 2018 / 6:01 pm

    My husband is from Belgium, and he’s got a terrible cold right now. I think I will make this for him! Any preference on the beer? There’s not too many choices where I’m at here in Colorado, but the local liqour store does have a few Belgian beers. I know for sure they have Trappistes Rochefort 6.

    • December 14, 2018 / 1:16 am

      Hi Leslie 🙂 Sorry to hear that your husband is poorly – I bet he could really do with some Carbonnade! The recipe recommends a dark Belgian beer. Let me know how it goes!

  8. Katrina Downi
    December 13, 2018 / 10:51 pm

    nice intervew, the only Belgium food i have had is waffles but this stew looks devine

    • December 14, 2018 / 1:12 am

      I think I’m definitely going to make this stew for myself sometime, perhaps even on the weekend.

  9. ChelseaMamma
    December 20, 2018 / 8:48 am

    I do love a warming stew this time of year but not heard of this one. Sounds delicious

    • December 20, 2018 / 5:41 pm

      It was the first time I’d heard of this Flemish stew too, but now it’s on my bucket list of dishes to make in the New Year.