I cooked more elaborate meals and was more experimental and adventurous in my culinary endeavours during the year I was on maternity leave, than I ever have been in my life.
There’s one simple reason for this – I was bored! Intellectual power that would otherwise be used in work or study had no other outlet, and so I spent all this intellectual power in meal-planning, curating the perfect shopping list, and cooking.
Now that I’ve been back at work for over a year, I think we’ve probably eaten the same seven meals every week – I no longer have the time to spend on planning and cooking new dishes.
Yet there are some recipes trialled during my year of maternity leave that were real successes which have been added to my standard repertoire. Case in point – this Belgian Beer Beef Stew, which I believe is more commonly known as carbonnade.
It is very meat-heavy so rather than eating it by itself, I do tend to make a big batch and serve it up with a lot of green veggies on the side. Great served on top of some buttered pasta as well!
Note – this recipe is for a Phillips All-In-One Pressure and Slow Cooker.
- Approximately 1kg of beef chuck steak (I got mine marked down – freshness doesn’t matter so much in this dish because you cook it for so long!)
- 1/4 cup of plain flour
- About 100gm of butter
- About six rashers of bacon (I use short-cut – you can use whatever cut you prefer)
- A whole head of garlic
- Two onions – I used red onions for the sweetness
- One bottle of Belgian beer (I used Hoegaarden)
- One cup of stock (I used chicken because that’s what I had – but beef would suit best)
- Two tablespoons of dark brown sugar
- One lemon
- Two dried bay leaves
- Fresh parsley
Dice up the beef into small chunks – about 5cm cubes work well. Coat the beef in the plain flour.
While you’re doing this, heat up a drizzle of olive oil in the Phillips All-In-One Pressure Cooker on the High Saute/Sear mode.
Sear and seal the beef in the cooker, then remove from the pot.
Add the butter into the pot, keep it on the High Saute/Sear mode. Add in the bacon (diced), garlic (diced), and onions (sliced) and cook until softened and smoky. Add half the bottle of beer, and keep cooking on High Saute/Sear mode until it reduces by half.
Return the beef to the pot, with the other half bottle of beer, stock, juice from one lemon, brown sugar, bay leaves, and parsley. Add pepper and salt to taste. Let the liquid reduce to half again, then put the cooker in Manual Pressure Cooker mode for half an hour, and put the lid on.
Once the pressure cooker has finished, release the steam and open the lid. If the mix is still too liquidy, put the cooker back on Saute/Sear mode to reduce it down. Importantly – add more salt and pepper to taste as appropriate!
Serve as you wish – I served it here with some buttered pasta underneath to soak up the delicious stew juices, and with some green beans. You might also like to serve it on a bed of rice with steamed broccoli, or even just with some fresh crusty bread and a side salad.