Taste of Europe Series: Belgium – Flemish Beef Stew with Pear Sauce

Bruge is actually very quiet in the evening, much like this canal. Boats get tucked in for the night and everyone goes home – or indoors.

Our first night in Bruge, we found a small restaurant on a side street called The Flemish Pot.

It was a bit fancier than we thought, but we were doing well with our budget, so the splurge was justified. We especially thought it well worth it after our meal came – Flemish Beef Stew with Chips (i.e. french fries – why they were ever called french fries I have no idea. Did you know they originated in Belgium?) and Pear Sauce and a Goat Cheese Salad w/ Honey Balsamic Dressing. Yum!

So, yesterday, we had a friend over for dinner and I recreated the meal, minus the goat Cheese salad (my family isn’t a fan of anything “goat”), plus a Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad of my own. (If you want that recipe just ask.)

Flemish Beef Stew, or Carbonnades Flamandes, is the national dish of Belgium. This recipe serves 6, though the amounts in the pictures look like a lot more since I doubled it.

Here’s what you need –

2 lbs. beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 T. olive oil
2 T. butter

4 c. chopped onion (about 4)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. brown sugar
2 t. parsley
1 bay leaf
1 12oz. bottle beer
1/4 -1 c. beef stock
1 T. apple cider vinegar

Toss together beef, flour, salt and pepper. In a large pan over high heat, brown beef in oil and butter. Carefully watch the beef to make sure it doesn’t burn, but give it enough time to develop a nice, rich, brown color.

Now add…


the onions,

the garlic,

the brown sugar

and herbs

to the beef and stir thoroughly.

The onions will pick up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan making it oh so yummy.
Stir in the beer and add enough beef stock to cover the beef in the pan.

 Cover the stew and let simmer for 5-6  hours. When I make it again I’ll use a crock pot, so I don’t have to keep watching it.

Now I know this sounds really odd to us Americans, but you really should give it a try any way. Pear sauce with Beef Stew and potatoes is really, really good!

It’s easy to make too.

Pear Sauce

All you need is 4 ripened pears, a little brown
sugar and some water. Boil and mash for about 30 minutes and there
ya go! It’s done!

Yes, The Flemish Pot served fries, but I’m not a fry fan, so I made roasted potatoes. Just slice about 3 lbs russet potatoes into wedges, toss with a mixture of melted butter and olive oil and sprinkle on the salt.

Bake at 400 degrees for an hour – or longer if you like them slightly crunchy like we do.

So, it’s dinner time! Remove the stew from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Scatter some fries in a large bowl, top with a ladle full of stew and serve with the pear sauce on the side.

I’m sure you all are probably wondering where the “recipe to start off the recipe” is, right? Well, I decided to switch things up a bit and save it for last. Besides, how many of you really want to make your own beef stock?

It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it’s a good thing to have a recipe for, so check it out!

Pictures are worth a thousand words, are they not? : ) It’s that simple!

Beef bones
Celery stalks
Bay leaf
Sea salt

Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and let simmer 3-5 hours. Strain.
Don’t throw away the veggies! I blended them in the blender and added them to the beef stew. (Just be sure to fish the bay leaf and bones out. :P ) It gives the stew a nice texture and adds fiber and nutrients.

Key to our B&B Hobo. Time to call it a night!

3 thoughts on “Taste of Europe Series: Belgium – Flemish Beef Stew with Pear Sauce

  1. Fantastic! It was very delicious! And the corn, zucchini, lime salad was amazing, so ask for the recipe…It's a great way to use all that zucchini in the summertime!Loved the pear sauce. I liked it best with the stew. :)I can also see where some mild goat cheese would really add to all the flavors.

  2. Wow, Sarah, this looks and sounds delish!!! May I have the corn & zucchini salad recipe, too??? Wish I could be working with you right now . . . I sure enjoyed watching you create your masterpieces!! Love and miss you so much!!!

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