Traditional Meat Stew with original Belgian Beer
and Air Fried French Fries
If i can ask all Belgians 1 question, that would be......Do you know Meat Stew (Stoofvlees)?
I’m sure they will say “Of Course”! It’s the kind of dish that is traditionally Belgian.
You can compare it with pumpkin pie for the usa. Except we eat meat stew all over the year and typical at the chip shop (frituur ;-)
if you live abroad and ever would decide to come to Belgium, you definitely have to try Belgian meat stew. I actually make this every 2 weeks and freeze in a portion for the next week.
Now, i give you the change to make this yourself, as it always tastes better homemade. Make sure you find your ingredients and you are ready to start.
I will add the Belgian name marked in BLUE for my dutch speaking friends :)
1 kg beef in big pieces from about 3 cm (Rundsvlees)
1 big onion chopped roughly or sliced roughly
2 bottles of Grimbergen double beer (you can choose any beer you like, it will give the taste to your stew. I’m not a fan of bitter beers).
2 Tablespoons of liège sirop (luikse of loonse stroop)
A bush of thymian (klein bosje Tijm)
1 Clove (Kruidnagel)
2 leaves of Laurel (Laurier)
1 Carrot cut in not too large pieces (if you like, so this is optional)
1 tablespoon of ketchup
2 tablespoons of baking butter (Bakboter)
1 tablespoon of flour
Pepper and Salt
Patrelle (you can find this at some Spar stores in Belgium)
TIP : Mix a couple of drops of the patrelle with sauce binder and add it to the stew at the end of cooking time, it will give your stew a nice dark color.
1. First of all take your meat out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you use it. So, it’s not that cold anymore. Cut your onion in pieces and add it to a casserole together with a clump of butter. Glaze it and set temperature lower. In the meanwhile heat up a pan and make sure you bake the butter a bit brown. You need a hot pan, so the meat sears up and gets a nice crust. You need that for the taste.
2. If you use a small pan, divide the meat pieces in 2. So, baking with 500 gr....otherwise you get water in your pan, since the meat will loose too much water. I used a large pan and could bake the meat all at once, but remember on high heat!
Add some salt and pepper to season. When it’s nicely crusted, add it to the onions that you kept warm at lower temperature.
3. Now, open your beer bottles and add it to the pan you just used for baking your meat. Cause, when you add cold beer with hot meat....your meat will react on that and will become leathery and tough to chew. When the beer starts cooking, first add 1 tablespoon of flour to your meat and stir well. this will make sure your sauce will bind a bit already. Then add the beer to the meat and onion.
4. Add the ketchup, liège sirop, thymian, laurel, carrot (if desired), 1 clove (laurier) and stir a bit, so it mixes. Be gentle.....
Now it’s important to lower up the heat, cause this is slow cooking and needs about 2 1/2 hours till 3 hours to get ready. stirring once in a while. lay the lid HALF on the casserole, or even without lid. So the beer can damp and the sauce will become thicker. And remember >> Slow cooking.
5. The last half hour i put the lid on the casserole again, to keep enough liquid to have enough sauce left.
NOTE : I do not add a a piece of bread with mustard like many people do, i simply don’t like that taste. But if you want to add it >> do it at the beginning of cooking time. The piece of bread needs to be solved completely to have a sauce without clumps.
6. After about 3 hours of gently cooking, your meat stew should be ready. Take the Patrelle and mix some drops with a little water and sauce thickener and add it to the stew while stirring. You will see it thicken and getting darker. Now your meat stew is ready. When it’s cooled down, you can freeze this stew easily for some months, depending on your freezer. But this will taste so good, that you don’t want to freeze it for so long :D
FRENCH FRIES (For 900 gr)
1. To make the French Fries, simply peel the potatoes, wash them in cold water. Slice into fries (i use my Nicer Dicer Plus >> also for sale at Blokker or Carrefour) and put them in a bowl covered with cold water for at least 25 minutes.
This is necessary, otherwise you get kind of popcorn potatoes. They need moist, to be fried.
2. After 25 minutes or more, take the air fryer out or maybe it has a steady place in the kitchen. But i don’t have the room for that. I put my air fryer on my cooking island. Pre-heat to 160°c, get your fries out of the water and dry them a bit with some paper towel. Put them in the bowl again and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of Olive oil. >> shake well! Then put the fries in the basket of the air fryer and fry for 13 minutes.
3. Then when ready, shake the basket to have other fries on top and increase temperature to 165°c and bake for another 10 minutes. when the beep goes, shake them and add to a clean bowl ready to serve. They will be perfectly baked this way........Nice and crispy!
This is much healthier than full oil fried fries....less calories and better for the heart. It’s worth the changement. I do this for about 5 months now and i never regret it!