Carbonade Flamande (Pie Optional)

If you’re already sick of turkey and the thought of recycling the leftovers leaves you feeling colder than Frosty the Snowman, this could be the recipe for you.

Carbonade Flamande – or Beef in Beer – is a succulent, meaty casserole that provides a complete contrast to what many of us have been eating over Christmas.

You can prepare it, bung it in the oven and spend the afternoon watching bad films going for an invigorating walk.

It’s usually eaten as a stew but it makes a great pie filling too – handy if you have unexpected guests and need to stretch the meal.

Carbonade Flamande (Pie Optional)

Some recipes include a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and the same of red wine vinegar – you can add them along with the tomato puree and beef stock if you’d like a hint of sweet and sour. I’ve omitted them in this version.

Image of Carbonade Flamande served in a pie


1 kg stewing beef (I used beef and a couple of pheasant breasts) cut into 4cm cubes

5-6 rashers of streaky bacon, cut into strips

500 ml dark beer

125 ml beef stock (a cube is fine)

3 fat garlic cloves

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices

1 leek, washed and trimmed and cut into thick slices

2 bay leaves

A few sprigs of thyme

1 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp plain flour

Salt and pepper

Olive or rapeseed oil

Pre-made puff or shortcrust pastry (optional)


Heat the oven to  325F/170C/Gas Mark 3.

Image of a plate of cubed meat, browned

Heat a glug of oil in a deep casserole or lidded frying pan, cook the bacon until beginning to crisp and brown the meat in batches. Remove and set aside.

Add the onions to the remaining oil in the pan and fry on a low heat until the onion is soft and golden.

Add the leeks and carrots and cook for another five minutes.

Put the meat back in the pan, stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes.

Image of Stars Wars bottle opened in action

Open the beer using the Star Wars bottle opener you got in your Christmas stocking. 

Slowly add the beer to the casserole, stirring until the mixture begins to thicken.

Add the tomato puree, the beef stock and herbs. Stir, season, put a lid on and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.

Taste and add more salt and pepper and thicken the gravy further if necessary. It’s not cheffy but if I’m in a hurry I use cornflour dissolved in a little water. No-one will be any the wiser.

If you’re making this into a pie, put the filling into a dish and allow it to cool before putting on a pastry lid.

Cook for around 25-30 minutes at 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6, or until the filling is heated through and the pastry is cooked and golden.

3 thoughts on “Carbonade Flamande (Pie Optional)

  1. This sounds seriously yummy, Linda – and for me the pie crust is the gilt (or indeed guilt) on the gingerbread or any other metaphor you care to mix. I feel a carbonade flamande coming on …

    Bad films and star wars bottle openers – how can life possibly get better?

    • I must admit the siren call of the piecrust is hard to resist but with New Year approaching and my waistline expanding I think it’s time to tie myself to the mast, plug my ears and sail on by.
      Maybe just one last pie with the leftover ham and turkey …

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