In Belgium, where they say everybody eats well because the food is so good, this hearty stew would be made with one of the famed local beers. Here, flavorful beef from the chuck (or shoulder) is well browned and then simmers in a mixture of onions and beer. A little brown sugar for sweetness and vinegar for sharpness rounds it all out. To slice the beef yourself, place it in the freezer for about an hour, or until it is firm but not frozen and it will be easy to slice.
Serves 6 to 8.
1/4 pound bacon, cut into thin strips
Serve with: 1 pound egg noodles, cooked and tossed with browned butter and chopped parsley
In a large Dutch oven, brown the bacon till fat is rendered. Remove bacon bits and reserve both bits and fat. Sauté onions in half the bacon fat till well browned. Remove onions from the pan. Add the remaining bacon fat to the pan. Dust the beef slices with flour, shaking off excess, and brown well on all sides in batches. Do not crowd the pan, or the beef will steam instead of browning. Remove beef slices from pan. Add 3 tablespoons flour to the fat in the pan and stir to make a thick paste. Pour in the beer, vinegar, thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Bring the liquid to the boil.
Layer the beef, onions, and liquid in the Dutch oven and bring to the boil on top of the stove. Cover and place in a 300º oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender. Serve over the noodles.
© 2006, Oso Sweet Onions