Not familiar with carbonade? It’s a classic European dish of beef or pork made into a rich stew. This dish is commonly found in The Alps and tends to have a slightly bitter and sweet finish that can be seasoned with a little vinegar, wine, or beer as well as sugar and/or a spoonful or two of a fruit preserve, like currant, to help enhance the flavor. Traditionally served with boiled potatoes or French fries to soak up all that fabulous rich, brown sauce!
The method is pretty easy to do at home. You can vary the ingredients like they do in a couple of the Alpine countries highlighting specific characteristics. See below for how to first create a basic carbonade and then choose a regional variation. We think this dish is definitely worth a spot on your table!
BROWN THE MEAT in small batches in a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven with a little fat. TRY: Chuck Roast, Bottom Sirloin, or a Boneless Pork Shoulder, all cut into medium to large pieces.
ADD MIREPOIX to create an excellent flavor foundation, using onions, garlic, carrots, aromatics, etc.
DEGLAZE PAN using beer (or try an Alpine white wine) and some stock. This helps those browned bits become liquid, reinforcing the dish’s foundation flavors. Use enough liquid to partially submerge the meat.
COVER AND COOK in a low-heat oven (325°F or less) or low simmer on stove. An hour is a good place to start checking for tenderness. When it’s fork tender, it’s ready for the next step.
SEASON&FINISH by adding a splash of additional beer, wine, or vinegar along with some good sea salt and DLM Tellicherry Pepper. Serve with potatoes or noodles if desired.
SWITZERLAND add bacon and onions as well as beer or a white wine.
AUSTRIA use white wine or cider, and add in onions and root vegetables.
GERMANY use a German beer (try one from Ayinger) along with onions, bay leaves, and mustard.