With a chilling cold snap forecasted this past weekend, I decided to make a favorite dish I had not made for quite some time. It was Carbonades, a dish originating in Belgium and is a beef and onion rich mixture topped with fluffy chive-parsley dumplings. It is very yummy and best made a day or so you before you wish to serve it. I made it on Saturday and then served it Sunday with Gingered Carrot Sticks, a simple Baby Greens Salad and a Rustic Cherry Tart for dessert. And, the best part, we have 6 more meals of Carbonades in the freezer for winter pleasure and quick, yummy dinners. I worked on this recipe many years ago and tucked it into my "Freezer Book" which by the way has a number of my favorite make ahead delicious dinners. (The Carbonades recipe follows.)
Our Tamale Roll Class was a "hoot and a holler". We were sold out and had wonderful participants from all over who were here for the Balloon Fiesta. We made Traditional Red Tamales, Blue Corn-Green Chile Chicken Tamales, Green Corn Tamales and Dessert Tamales. We had quite a feast with a huge batch of Guacamole and Perfect Margaritas. This has been a very popular class for many years during Balloon Fiesta. Plan to come next year as I will offer it again.
The next class we have is our full-participation November weekend class which is on sale at half price. I would love to have you come. It is the weekend of November 9 to 11. The complete menu is linked here.
Here is the recipe--
CARBONADES WITH DUMPLINGS
A special stew-like casserole that is tremendous for early fall days, after a football game or leaf raking or other rigorous outdoor activity. It’s a splendid follow-up for a beer keg party too. (It uses up stale beer very well.) There are several tricks to assure marvelous flavor which I’ve tucked into the directions. A critical one is to crisply brown the outside of the beef cubes, a few at a time, to create a rich brown sauce. You can either freeze a whole casserole ahead or prepare it a day or several hours before and leave it simmering while you’re out. This great stew originated in Belgium.
Cooking time: 3 hours or more
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
½ cup or more cooking oil
½ cup flour
4 pounds lean roasting beef such as round, arm, or rump cut into 1-inch cubes
6 large onions, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
¼ cup dark brown sugar or molasses
½ cup dry red wine
? cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 2 teaspoons dried leaves, crushed
1 Tablespoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pint beef stock (fresh, canned, or beef bouillon)
1 quart beer or 2, 12-ounce bottles or cans plus water
- Heat oil in large heavy frying pan and brown floured beef cubes a few at a time until each is well browned. A medium-high heat works best. Add more oil if necessary.
- As cubes are browned, place in bottom of 6-quart or larger Dutch oven or other heavy casserole with a tight-fitting cover. Lightly brown onion slices.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Add onion slices to top of casserole. Add garlic, sugar, half of wine, herbs and seasonings.
- Pour off excess oil, then deglaze frying pan with the beef stock and add to beef-onion mixture. Stir casserole together lightly and skim off extra oil.
- Add beer and cover casserole. Bake until meat is tender—at least 2 hours. Add remaining half of wine and cool, if planning to freeze.
Freezing hints: Package in rigid cartons or a very large bowl. Thaw stew, if frozen, overnight or for a day in the refrigerator.
- To serve, bring carbonades to a simmer while preparing dumpling dough. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Do not freeze with dumplings. If you wish to freeze leftovers, freeze the dumplings separately from the carbonades.
Maximum recommended freezer storage: 3 months
1½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped or dried, minced chives
2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley
2 Tablespoons soft butter
½ cup milk or enough to make soft dough
- Mix dry ingredients together, then cut in butter, being certain butter is well distributed. Then add milk and stir just to make a soft dough, adding more milk if needed.
- When stew is at a bubble—but only simmering, never boiling—add dumpling dough by first rinsing a metal tablespoon in hot stew, then dipping out a spoonful of batter and holding batter-filled spoon in stew just long enough to release dumpling. Repeat until all batter is used. Make certain stew is barely bubbling.
- Cover tightly and cook for 15 minutes without peeking. Test to see if dumplings are done by pricking with a tester or fork. If no dough clings to tester—serve it up!
Serve with cold beer or a good red wine, a simple vegetable, and light salad. The cooking pot is the best serving container for the stew as it will maintain heat best—critical for fluffy dumplings.