Carbonnade Flamande

Curiosities about carbonnade flamande

Carbonnade is the best known traditional dish of Northern France. It originates from the Flemish region of Belgium, also known as Flanders.

It was miners who created this dish by grilling meat over charcoal in the mines, but today the dish has evolved in northern France and resembles a beer-braised beef stew. There is another recipe in France known as ‘Bœuf Bourguignon’ which is very similar but is prepared with wine and carrots instead of beer and ‘gingerbread’.

Ingredients of the Carbonnade Flammande

Max’s Recipe

As Max is from the North of France, he cooks a finger-licking carbonnade flamande!

Let’s take a look at the recipe, but first I would like to tell you about the history of the “gingerbread” in this stew, which is little known in Spain, but its origin goes back a long way in history and has even crossed many continents. In Ancient Egypt, in classical Greece… there was already talk of honey bread, but the precursor of our current gingerbread was a honey bread with aromatic plants that was made in Mi-Kong in the 12th and 13th century.

During the Middle Ages, the recipe and spices came to Europe via the voyages to the Holy Land during the Crusades.

In 1296 the word “Lebkuchen”, which means gingerbread in German, appeared and in France the first mention of gingerbread on the tables of some monasteries in Alsace at Christmas time. Alsace is the gingerbread region in France, although similar sweets or recipes can be found all over the country, such as our carbonnade flamande.

Carbonnade flamande


  1. Gingerbread.
  2. Mustard (in grains).
  3. Onions.
  4. Beer, a little flour and bay leaf, if possible pale ale or stout.
  5. Sliced smoked bacon.
  6. Cheack meat. It is the cut from the front part of the veal, tender and tasty.
  7. Casserole.
Gingerbread before mixing

Preparation of carbonnade flamande

  1. Cut the meat into more or less large chunks, the bacon into thick strips and the onions into slices.
  2. Heat the empty pan. Once the base is hot, add the butter with a little olive oil and brown the pieces of meat for a few minutes without cooking or frying them completely and put them to one side.
  3. With the broth left over from the meat in the pot, fry the onions in it. Before adding the onions, add the sugar to the stock, which will form a kind of thick sauce, and the bacon, which will also release its fat. When the bacon is golden brown, add a little flour, a splash of vinegar and finally fry the chopped onion in the sauce so that it takes on its flavour.
  4. Once the onions are caramelised, put the meat on top of the onions and bathe it in the broth that has been released during the waiting time, add the beer and bay leaf.
  5. Cover and simmer for an hour and a half, then leave to cool.
  6. Spread the mustard over the gingerbread and add to the stew. Simmer for a second time until the meat is tender and the onions are melted, stir to break up the bread and mix well with the rest of the ingredients, add salt to taste.
  7. It can be served with sweet potato or fried or baked potatoes.
Ready to eat!

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