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French Ovens and Beef Carbonnade

This recipe was delicious!

I got a new 6.5 quart French Oven for my birthday and this was the first recipe I tried with it.  The beef browned beautifully and the meal cooked to perfection.  I will definitely make this recipe again and can't wait to use my French Oven again!
What is a French Oven you ask? 
It is a very heavy enameled cast iron pot that can go from the stove to the oven.  Le Creuset has a model similar to mine, but since theirs retails for around $240.00 I opted for the Kirkland brand French Oven for a mere $79.00.  The only differences are the color of the interior and the closed handles.

Snubbing me because I got a knock-off?? HA!  Here is an article in Hungry Mouse's blog about a battle between Le Creuset French Ovens and  Lodge.  I imagine the Kirkland preformed just as well.

Beef Carbonnade
America's Test Kitchen
  • 3 1/2 lbs boneless chuck roast or blade steak, trimmed and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4-6 T vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs yellow onions (about 3 medium), halved and sliced about 1/4-inch thick (about 8 cups)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tsp)
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 c low-sodium beef broth
  • 12 ounce bottle or can of dark or amber ale.
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T cider vinegar

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Dry beef thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke; add about one-third of beef to pot. Cook without moving pieces until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes; using tongs, turn each piece and continue cooking until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer browned beef to medium bowl. Repeat with additional oil and remaining beef. (If drippings in bottom of pot are very dark, add about 1/2 cup of the above-listed chicken or beef broth and scrape pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits; pour liquid into bowl with browned beef, then proceed.)

Add 1 T oil to the now-empty Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions, 1/2 tsp salt and tomato paste; cook, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until onions have released some moisture, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes.

Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Stir in broths, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits; stir in beer, thyme, bay and vinegar. Add browned beef with any accumulated juices. Salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to full simmer, stirring occasionally.

Cover partially, then place pot in oven. Cook until fork inserted into beef meets little resistance, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Discard thyme and bay. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Can be cooled and refrigerated in airtight container for up to 4 days; reheat over medium-low heat.


    1. Cyn, Sounds delicious and I bet it would be equally good in your pressure cooker :) Nancy A.


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