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Carbonnade is a simple to make and hearty Flemish dish - we've used beef ribs roasted with beer rather than wine for a sweet-sour flavour.

By Rodney Dunn
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 15 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print
Carbonnade is a Flemish dish eaten widely in northern France. Made with beer rather than wine, it has a sweet-sour flavour and is both hearty and simple to prepare. Beef ribs aren't traditional; you can substitute a nice piece of chuck, which is more typical. Don't skimp on the beer, however - it's well worth seeking out a traditional abbey ale for this.


  • 1.5 kg beef short ribs
  • 100 gm (1/3 cup) plain flour
  • 50 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1.1 kg (about 6) onions, cut into thick wedges
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 500 ml dark Belgian-style ale
  • 250 ml (1 cup) beef stock
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 350 gm mixed baby carrots, scrubbed, tops trimmed
  • To serve: finely chopped chives and chive flowers (if available)


  • 1
    Season beef to taste and dust with flour. Heat butter in a casserole over medium-high heat until foaming, add beef ribs and brown all over (5-6 minutes), then transfer to a plate. Add onions and garlic to pan, reduce heat to low and sauté, stirring often, until onions are very soft (12-15 minutes).
  • 2
    Add half the beer to pan and scrape residue from base with a wooden spoon. Return beef to pan with remaining beer and remaining ingredients except carrots, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots and continue to cook until beef is tender (about 2 hours). Scatter with chives and chive flowers and serve with potatoes or buttered noodles.


Drink Suggestion: Belgian-style ale. Drink suggestion by Max Allen