Beef in designer beer


  • Prep Time45 mins
  • Total Time45 mins
  • Makes6 servings
*PLUS Cooking time: 30 minutes, Baking Time: 2 minutes


  • 1/2 French baguette

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 6 tsp whole-grain mustard

  • 1/2 cup grated gruyère

  • 1 kg braising steak, such as beef brisket or round steak

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 5 onions, quartered

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 341-mL bottle beer

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme

  • 2 bay leaves


  • To make croutons, preheat oven to 350F (180C). Cut baguette diagonally into six slices, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon oil with garlic. Drizzle onto a large baking sheet with sides. Place bread slices in oil. Turn over so both sides are coated with oil. Bake 20 minutes, until crisp. Cool. Mustard and cheese are added just before serving.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 325F (160C). Cut meat into large 2 inch (5 cm) cubes. Dry with paper towels. Using a large, wide oven-proof saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add a few beef cubes. Cook cubes in several batches, turning until well browned, about 6 minutes. Remove and repeat with remaining cubes.

  • When all the beef cubes have been browned and removed, reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often until lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in beer and water, scraping up all browned bits from bottom of pan. Return meat to pan. Add salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, uncovered and stirring often.

  • Cover and bake in centre of preheated oven for 1-1/2 hours. Then, uncover and continue baking until beef is tender and sauce is thickened, about 1-1/2 to 2 more hours. Stir every half hour. Remove from oven. Remove fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves and discard. Taste and add remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

  • When stew is ready, lightly spread croutons with mustard and sprinkle with cheese. Place on baking sheet and return to oven until cheese is just melted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle stew into bowls and top each with a crouton. Covered and refrigerated, stew will keep well for up to 3 days. Frozen, it will keep for up to 1 month. Croutons are best the day they are made.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 405, Protein 36g, Carbohydrates 27.7g, Fat 16.2g.

In the '60s, every other restaurant called itself a bistro and served Carbonnade de Boeuf à la Flamande, beef simmered in beer, Flemish style. Here is Delia Smith's '90s version. Our favorite touch: the Gruyère-garlic croutons to scatter over the carbonnade create a kind of deluxe French onion soup.