Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wild Boar Stoofvlees [Zack]

Stoofvlees / Carbonnade Flamande is my all-time favorite Belgian recipe.  Imagine a warm, comforting beef bourguignon, but instead made with the famous Belgian dark beer.  Dark beer and carrots add a small amount of sweetness, but all of the rest of the ingredients are designed to umami bomb you.  The combination of fresh and dry mushrooms, fish sauce (only thing that’s not traditional), and browning the meat will add depth to the stew.  Cooking everything slowly in a pot will make the meat impossibly tender, and also develop the flavors.  You’ll get a small herbal note from the bay leaves and the clove.

But, the coolest part of the recipe is how to thicken the sauce.  You place 2 slices of bread smothered with mustard on top of the stew.  It will get absorbed as the Stoofvlees cooks and thicken up the sauce like a roux.

It’s always served with a side of world-famous Belgian French fries and a small cup of mayo (no ketchup!!).  Accompany the stew with a cold dark beer, and there’s really not much better in life.


Start by prepping everything - cube the wild boar or beef into ~1 inch cubes.  Finely dice the 2 onions and the carrot. 

Put a pot (with a cover) on the stove on medium heat and add the 1T butter and 1T canola oil once it heats up.  Brown the meat on one side, in batches.  Extract to a plate.

In the same pot, saute the diced onion and carrots until they develop a small amount of browning.

Throw the meat back in, along with the dried mushrooms.  Pour the 2 dark beers in the pot.

Stir everything up.  Slather about 2T of mustard on top of 2 slices of bread.  Place them on top of your stew, along with the aromatics:  2 bay leaves, 3 juniper berries, 2T onion flakes, and the clove.  

Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for about 3 hours.  Stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom.  It's finished when the meat is very tender (test a piece).  Stir in the 1tsp of fish sauce, a bunch of freshly cracked black pepper, then adjust for salt.

Serve hot french fries with mayonnaise alongside the stew.  I cheat and go to the local Frituur.  I like french fried onions on top of my fries :)

1.5 lbs wild boar (or beef), cubed
1T butter
1T canola or other non-olive oil
2 onions
1 medium carrot
.5 cups dried mushrooms
2T dried onion flakes
2 bay leaves
3 juniper berries
1 clove (more if you're into that)
1tsp fish sauce
2 bottles Belgian brown beer
2 pieces of bread, with 2T mustard spread on top

Song:  My favorite Belgian artist should accompany this recipe:

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