So what is a Yorkshire Carbonnade ? Well originally the word carbonnade in French means a piece of meat or fish cooked slowly on hot coals (from the latin carbo, -onis, coal, charcoal). Nowadays it’s more about a piece of beef cooked in beer. Of course the most famous type of carbonnade, is a la flamande, a flemish beef stew made with ale and traditionally associated with Belgian cuisine (also called vlamms stoverij in Dutch. Where I am from, in Northern France, we took it as one of our own too. To make it I would use a local beer called Jenlain, brewed in Jenlain near Valenciennes by Duyck brewery and not far away from Belgium. However since I’ve moved up here in Yorkshire, I’ve found it difficult to find this special brew. So ever since I’ve been on a quest to find an adequate replacement. And I have finally found it to make this Yorkshire Carbonnade: The Old Peculier by Theakston brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire. It’s a dark ale almost like a stout with nice roasted barley flavours, perfect for this stew. So here you go, that’s my Yorkshire take on an old Northern French / Flemish favourite!
To make a Yorkshire Carbonnade you will need (serves two):
– a piece of beef to braise (350g). I find shin to be perfect for this. – 3 big onions finely sliced – 1 pint Old Peculier – 4 branches or 10 g of thyme – 2 bay leaves – 2 teaspoons of English mustard – 4/5 carrots sliced or diced – 50g of butter – 20g of brown sugar
Optional: this recipe is perfect to eat with a nice good serving of chips or like here with some mustard bread
Please note that almost all the ingredients I have used in my recipe come from Yorkshire! That is definitely true for the beer, meat and vegetables, making it a true Yorkshire Carbonnade 🙂
1. Turn the oven on to preheat at 160°C/320°F. Roughly dice your beef in big pieces, slice your onions and dice your carrots.
2. Place the onions and the carrots in a big hot oven-proof pan on the stove, if possible a cast-iron one, in which you’ve melted a big knob of butter. The onions will soon change colours and it’s time to add the sugar to caramelise them.
3. When the onions have a slight brown colour, take them with the carrots out of the pan and place them in the lid. Put a new knob of butter and add the meat in the pan. Stir frequently until every single bit gets a nice dark brown colour.
4. Put the whole bottle of beer in, bay leaves, mustard and thyme. The beer will probably produce some foam for a little while, don’t worry it will soon wear off. Finally add the onions and carrots back in the pot, stir well and put in the oven.
5. This will now cook really slowly for at least 2 to 3 hours. Check every hour until the meat just falls off. If you’ve used shin, make sure that all the fatty tissues has melted away (it might require cooking for longer). Be careful not to burn your pan though and make sure that there is always enough liquid in – don’t hesitate to add water if necessary.
6. When it’s ready the best way to accompany this dish is with some nice chips and of course a pint of Old Peculier! However on this occasion I didn’t have any potatoes so I improvised with some bread spread with mustard. To do this, simply cut some pieces of bread to your pan dimension. Spread the slices with mustard and place them on top of the Carbonnade with the mustard face up. Put the pan back in the oven without the lid for another 30 minutes until the bread is nice and crisp.
7. Serve and enjoy ! As you can see I couldn’t wait any longer to drink my beer but I still had enough to eat with 🙂