Classic carbonnade

Tom Parker Bowles' recipe for this famous Belgian casserole of beef cooked in a rich, dark beer sauce is ideal for both family and entertaining
By Tom Parker Bowles
Classic carbonnade
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 tbsp beef dripping
  • 4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 30 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 kg stewing steak, cut into cubes
  • 350 ml Belgian beer
  • 100 ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • mashed potatoes, to serve


1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the dripping in a heavy-based frying pan and fry the onion until lightly coloured but not brown. Lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a shallow casserole.

3. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour with the mustard powder and toss the meat cubes in the mixture to coat.

4. Heat the remaining dripping in the frying pan, brown the meat in batches and transfer to the casserole.

5. Add the vinegar, beer and stock to the frying pan with the sugar and herbs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and stir until simmering, scraping any residue from the bottom of the pan.

6. Pour the sauce over the meat and onions, cover tightly and cook in the oven for 3 hours. Remove the bouquet garni and stir in the mustard.

7. Serve with mashed potato.

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