Beef chunks are steeped in Belgian beer in the slow cooker and result in a melt-in-your-mouth delicious stew! This is the best beef stew ever! Perfect comfort food for fall and winter. Serve with fries, noodles or over mashed potatoes.
We’ve been to Brussels a couple of times and in each visit we’ve always had a wonderful time! One thing we truly enjoyed in Belgium is the food….oh glorious food. Brussels is the city where we enjoyed the best fries, best waffles and naturally, the best chocolate!
For a foodie like me, it was culinary heaven, indeed! But there is another food from this lovely place that we have totally loved at home and is often requested by hubby as it has become his favorite (insert drum roll here!) – the classic Belgian Stew or Carbonnades a la Flamande, if you want to sound more posh and sophisticated. 🙂
I am not much of a wine or beer drinker at all but I sure love to use both in cooking. That is the case with this amazing stew.
It is braised in Belgian dark ale for several hours resulting in meltingly tender meat with superb and robust flavor! The sauce is so tasty you’d want to drizzle it all over your rice (what we love as a side dish for this though traditionally, it is eaten with bread to mop up all the yummy sauce!).
While the traditional recipe, does not use the usual stewing vegetables, I decided to add some in this one towards the end of cooking. I had some extra carrots and cabbages in the fridge, so why not?
Besides, I wanted to add some color to an otherwise dark brown looking stew! I must say it worked well because my whole family, including my aunt who was visiting at the time I made this, totally loved it!
Hope you try this and enjoy it with your family, too. If you don’t fancy using the slow cooker, I also have the classic version of this stew as done on the stovetop here.
I suggest using Chimay – the classic Belgian beer as that tastes really good even for a non-drinking person like me. If you aren’t able to find it simply use another dark or light ale.
FOR FULL RECIPE & INSTRUCTIONS and to PRINT, SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS FOR Slow Cooker Beef and Beer Belgian Stew
Beef chunks are steeped in Belgian beer in the slow cooker and result in a melt-in-your-mouth delicious stew! This is the best beef stew ever!
- Stewing beef (pref. chuck steak or roast), cubed
- Olive Oil
- Onion, chopped
- Garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- Belgian Beer – we like Chimay but feel free to use your favorite Belgian brand
- Bouquet Garni – 2 bay leaves, a few thyme sprigs, 1/4 cup unchopped fresh parsley – all tied together or added loosely. You can buy this dried in small pouches, too.
- Vinegar – pref. wine vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Large Carrot or baby Carrots, thinly sliced diagonally (optional) – this is not traditional with a typical Belgian stew but I added them to bulk it up.
- Green Cabbage, chopped (optional) – – this is not traditional with a typical Belgian stew but I added them to bulk it up.
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Liberally season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. You can also roll it in flour, if you wish. I wanted a thinner stew with lots of sauce and also a gluten-free version so I didn’t bother with adding the flour. Heat a deep pan or large skillet. Melt the butter and oil using medium-high heat. Brown the cubed beef to sear in batches and avoid overcrowding the meat. Place the beef cubes in a large platter as you cook. Searing is worth the work to add more depth of flavor.
- Quickly, sauté the onions and garlic in the remaining fat in the pan for a couple of minutes. Scrape all that yummy brown bits in there.
- Place the sauteed onions and garlic and everything else left on the pan on the slow cooker and add the beef cubes on top. Pour in the beer and vinegar and add the brown sugar. Stir everything. Cover and cook on low for about 6-8 hours.
- After 6-7 hours of cooking, when the beef is already tender, add the vegetables and herbs. Cook for another hour or 2 until the vegetables are tender. Transfer to a serving platter, removing the herbs, if desired. Enjoy with some rice or mashed potatoes.
- NOTES: If using dried bouquet garni in a sachet or chunkier carrot slices, you may add them together with the beef and beer in the slow cooker at the beginning. Enjoy!
Yield: 6-8 Servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.
Cook time: 08 hrs. 00 mins.
Total time: 8 hrs. 15 mins.
Tags: Belgian, Slow Cooker, Beef, Stew, Gluten-Free, Easy Recipe, Beer
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Slow Cooker Beef and Beer Belgian Stew
- 1 kilo (2.2) lbs Stewing beef like chuck steak or roast, cubed
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 large Onion, chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, crushed and peeled
- 12 oz Bottle of dark Belgian Beer (like Chimay)
- 1 Bouquet Garni, (2 bay leaves, a few thyme sprigs, 1/4 cup unchopped fresh parsley – all tied together or added loosely)
- 2 tbsp Vinegar, pref. wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown Sugar
- 1 large Carrot or 2 cups baby Carrots, thinly sliced diagonally (optional)
- 1/2 piece Green Cabbage, chopped (optional)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
Liberally season the beef cubes with salt and pepper. You can also roll it in flour, if you wish. This will help thicken the stew. Heat a deep pan or large skillet. If using the Instant Pot Dutch Oven Slow Cooker, choose the saute function. Melt the butter and oil using medium-high heat. Brown the cubed beef to sear in batches and avoid overcrowding the meat. Place the beef cubes in a large platter as you cook. Searing is worth the work to add more depth of flavor.
Quickly, sauté the onions and garlic in the remaining fat in the pan or the Instant Pot Dutch Oven Slow Cooker for a couple of minutes. Scrape all that yummy brown bits in there.
Place the sauteed onions and garlic and everything else left on the pan on the slow cooker and add the beef cubes on top. Pour in the beer and vinegar and add the brown sugar. Add the bouquet garni Stir everything. Cover and cook on low for about 6-8 hours. 5 hours on low on the Instant Pot Dutch Oven Slow Cooker was sufficient to make the meat tender.
Once the beef is already tender, add the fresh vegetables and herbs, if using. Cook just until the vegetables are tender. Transfer to a serving platter, removing the herbs or the bouquet garni sachet. Enjoy with some fries, noodles or mashed potatoes. In our house we love this with rice!
TIPS & TRICKS
Sear or brown the beef first because it adds depth of flavor.
If using dried bouquet garni in a sachet or chunkier carrot slices, you may add them together with the beef and beer in the slow cooker at the beginning.
Psalm 34:8 King James Version (KJV)
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
As a Flemish person (yes that is the northern part of Belgium where they don’t speak french (a majority by the way)) I am pleased that you like our real national dish.
I just want to tell you thet there are several other stews in Belgium, but one that is very particular.
I don’t know if you travelled up north from Brussels, but just a few kilometers to the north you enter horsemeat country. Most restaurants can offer horse steak or even better horse filet, but the speciality of my old hometown, exactly in between Brussels and Antwerp has one speciallity: Willebroekse Schep, i.e. horse stew from Willeboek (just goohle, you’ll find it).
The way to make it is just stew horse meat and make sure you use (dark) beer and a good amount of musterd and onions (which will disappear over the cooking time).
That's very interesting! Thank you for stopping by and sharing this Midrac. Will try the onions and mustard for next time – sounds so good with that!
Thus looks SO good!
Love that veggies!
Made this Tuesday. It was very tasty, my hubby especially couldn’t stop raving about it. I’m thankful I decided to add the carrots and cabbage with the seared meat and onion at the start. I also added a cup of beef broth since the amount of liquid ( beer ) didn’t quite cover the meat and vegetables even though I knew the veggies would cook down over time. I started out cooking mine on high which I always do for the first hour but for this stew I ended up leaving it on high for a little over 8 hours as the stew meat I’d purchased fresh still wasn’t that tender nor were the carrots which I cut a bit larger than I should have. You mentioned the cabbage is not traditional but I’m glad I decided to add cabbage as it contributed to the stew very nicely.
Have no idea why it took so long even on high for the stew to have the proper consistency, my slow cooker is fairly new and has not failed me yet when following recommended temperatures and cooking times advised so am a bit perplexed as to why even on high I could have cooked my stew for another hour without it turning to mush. I’m assuming the butcher store packaged up a mystery beef cut that was meant to be simmered over two or three days to render it tender, and decided to label it it stew meat!
To complete the stew. I cooked cut up yellow potatoes to have on the side rather than frites. Also cooked a bit of kernel corn ( hubby’s wish) so he could layer it the way he wanted in his stew bowl. All in all a lovely meal that we were able to eat for two nights in a row much to hubby’s delight that I would definitely make again although next time I make it, I would have a freshly baked loaf of Belgian molasses bread or other darker rye style bread to have on the side as I’m particularly fond of a having a nice slab of warm baked bread or a couple of drop dumplings with my stews.
Stay well everyone
Thank you for your feedback and so glad you enjoyed it! It is my husband’s favorite, too. I believe you may have gotten the wrong cut of meat – if it was a chuck roast or stewing meat that is a bit marbled it shouldn’t be tough after 8 hours on the slow cooker. It’s never happened to me and I always get a chuck roast for this as it works best and comes out so tender. Perhaps you can ask your butcher for chuck roast stewing meat next time. Thanks again, Jocelyn.