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Arey

Carbonnade de Boeuf Flamande

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Hi James,

and thanks for the welcome,

Well, welcome Ian! And what a great first post. Thanks.

I absolutely love this dish, and am definitely going to use your tips the next time I prepare it.

Which I am now determined is going to be much sooner rather than later.

I'm only hopeful I can find the beer you suggest. If that turns out to be difficult, are there any substitutes you might recommend?

So do we. As for substituting the beer. I am afraid I'm a bit of broken reed - one of the disadvantages from your point of view of having someone from Europe contributing. I simply don't know enough about the flavour profiles of beer in the States to be able to give an intelligent answer. If you read MTAOFC (I've seen this abbreviation used) you'll see that they use extra ingredients, - sugar and vinegar - to compensate for the lack of the right beer, and then they thicken with cornflour to compensate for the not using spice bread.

As you know, Lambic is beer fermented by using natural yeasts that float around in the brewery. I get one from about the best of the producers, called Cantillon. However I have to ask a friend to bring it down for me. Here where I live the choice is pretty wretched. Gueuze Bécasse is about it. I don't think it's right to use a very hoppy beer, nor one that's VERY dark, like a Guinness. But if you can find a lightly hopped golden malty beer, that would be fine, and then you would add some sugar (or better, malt extract( to sweeten slightly, and a tad of malt vinegar to balance it up.

Hope that helps a bit. Here's the way I do it.


All the best

Ian (yes in France)

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Well, welcome Ian! And what a great first post. Thanks.

I absolutely love this dish, and am definitely going to use your tips the next time I prepare it.

Which I am now determined is going to be much sooner rather than later.

I'm only hopeful I can find the beer you suggest. If that turns out to be difficult, are there any substitutes you might recommend?

A gueuze might be a bit difficult to find, depending on where you live and if you have well-stocked liquor stores or markets nearby. Easier to find, and what I prefer to use anyway, is a fruit flavored version, which are usually named by the French name of the fruit. Trader joes usually carries Lindemans framboise and peche. I prefer to use kriek if I can find it, but framboise is my second choice.

My version of the dish was in my eg food blog, with details in my markiscooking blog - see the links in my signature.


Edited by mgaretz (log)

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My culinary godfather was an old, old school guy named Werner Kalmus from Colmar. The Chef (even his wife called him "The Chef") worked at the Georges Cinq after the war, and Fierjahrezeit Kempinski in Berlin, before emigrating to the US. In quaint old Monterey, California of the 50's and 60's, Chef Kalmus won Chef of the Year every year...until they stopped bothering to have one.

I was lucky enough to inherit a lot of the Chef's stuff: his lamb-splitter from HIS grandfater, his foie gras forms from Paris, his still from his father, his silver parfait dishes...even his old Hobart mix and KitchenAid countertop from the 50's....everything still showroom perfect, of course.

I also got two carbonnade pans...and therein lies a story.

I worked for Chef as a waiter in his little retirement place in Carmel Valley while my partners and I were struggling to establish a catering kitchen. The Chef was amused by our flailings, and helped keep us on the right track. One day we got a Mercedes film shoot for a commercial...big crew, multi days. We hashed together a series of menus to keep the crew happy, while the Chef looked over our shoulders. We set on Carbonnade de boeuf....as folks have suggested, a big top round of beef stewed in good mild beer with lots of caramelized onions....and the pain epice, by the way.

The Chef went ballistic in the way only an old-school German/French chef can go ballistic. "You cannot do BOEUF carbonnade! It is not possible!" We tried to reason with him...."Yeah, Chef. We know it is supposed to be pork, but it is a big crew and we will save a ton of money if we use top round." Chef blew his stack....stomped off, fired me from my only real job at the time...and refused to speak to me for six months. Until I grovelled, begged and apologized humbly and profusely.

Chef Kalmus: Carbonnade is not the meat or the process....it is the pan. The pan fits a whole boned pork loin. Add the beer and tons of carmelized onion. Seal with the pain epice and parchment. Cover with the carbonnade lid. Put the pan "au coin du feu"....in the back of the plancha, or in the coals in a quiet oven. Then get your coal shovel and cover the top of the carbonnade with "carbon"....coals from the oven fire! Carbonnade cooks above and below, in the nice skinny carbonnade....pan.

This is why he went ape on us....there is no way to fit an entire top round in a carbonnade. Therefore, there can be no such thing as boeuf carbonnade. Well, maybe a filet...but who would do that to a filet? Whew!

I am not offering this as argument to everything that has gone before here, just perspective. I hope we all appreciate both our freedoms in the kitchen....and the tradtion born of hard work that came before.

And....I have to say, the pork carbonnade rocks the house. I use the Weber. And I am still afraid of the concept of boeuf, even though Chef has been gone for 25 years now!

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Txacoli

How fascinating.

I'll post your comments to Noel Lepère (the pseudo of my Belgian chef friend) and invite him to comment.


All the best

Ian (yes in France)

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Right!! Got somewhere at least. Noel hasn't come back to me yet, but another friend who remembers an erudite discussion on a French Language discussion group abut 11 years ago, dug out a quotation from a french dictionary. "Godefroy 1895-1902 Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française et de tous ses dialectes du IXème au XVème siècle" (Dictionary of old French and all its dialects from the 9th to the 15th centuries.)

Here's a clip of what it says.

charbonade.jpg

The first definition says "grilled, meat roasted hurriedly over coals."

A piece of meat big enough to cook in that way.

Hence, cut someone with a great slice from a sword so that he swallows "sa capeline" and a slice of the cheek as well.

In Bordeaux, they stuill call "carbonnade" a piece of veal cooked on the grill or more often in a casserole".

=========

No mention of pork, and no mention of the cooking utensil.

But of course, general dictionaries are not the best source of information when it comes to any specialised vocabulary,.

However the tie in between the name and grilling existed in the 13th century in French.


All the best

Ian (yes in France)

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Now we're really getting somewhere!

Here's a link to the CNRTL (which is the National centre for textual and Lexical Research) - one of the advantages of a Language such as French which is officially defined, is that such organisations actually exist.

My link

For those who are linguistically challenged and could do with a little help with French meanings, :wink: the gist is as I've already reported. "A preparation method which consists of grilling meat over coals". Hence "meat cooked in this way"

And a quotation from Alphonse Daudet

Chez les bouchers, quand la vieille Annou demandait une carbonade, l'étalier lui riait au nez; il ne savait pas ce que c'était une « carbonade », ce sauvage!

A. Daudet , Le Petit Chose, 1868, p. 23.

"At the butchers, when the crone Annou asked for a carbonade, the stall holders laughed in his face, because, uncivilised brute, he didn't know what 'a carbonade' was."


All the best

Ian (yes in France)

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And finally, one of my Belgian friends who replied

Et dans un dictionnaire wallon français de 1839

on trouve:

"Carbonâd, s. Carbonnade, viande roulée et grillée sur des charbons."

Translated "And in a walloon (french speaking Belgium) dictionary of 1839

we find

"Carbonâd Carbonnade, meat rolled and grilled on coals"

She also said

"Sur le contenant il n'y a rien puisqu'il n'y a pas de contenant de ce nom. Que la casserole soit en terre ou en fonte, ça mijote au coin du feu."

"As for the cooking utensil there/'s nothing, because there is no utensil of that name. Whether the casserole be of terracotta or cast iron, it simmers on the edge of the hob."

And finally at last Noel came back with

"Comme le dit Danièle, il n'existe pas de plat ou de casserole dont la racine du mot serait carbonade.

"

As Danièle said, there is neither a serving dish or a casserole of whom the root of their name is carbonade".

So, without saying that Txacoli is wrong as to what he remembers, it seems that the people who live in the Flanders area don't know of such a dish. But let's face it Colmar (where his chef Kalmus came from) is a long way away and France is highly regionalised. So it's rather as if a chef fom New Mexico claimed that the origin of the word "chowder" was "chow" to eat.


Edited by ianinfrance (log)

All the best

Ian (yes in France)

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