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Belgian Beef Stew

Posted by Denise on January 24, 2012

Belgian Beef Stew on green platter

A hint of nutmeg brings awesome flavor to this inexpensive, tender meal.


Glenn found this recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook. He was thumbing through and this one jumped out at him and are we glad it did!  We wanted to try something new and the fact that it is a one-pot meal appealed to us. Belgian Beef Stew is a new comfort food for us.

Preparation for this Belgian beef stew only took about 45 minutes to gather everything and cut, measure, and brown the ingredients, so don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list. It does take about 2 ½ hours to braise in the oven, so you will need to plan ahead. The thing I like the best about this type of meal is that you can pop it into the oven and go do other things while it is cooking.

The smell of the cooking stew wafted throughout the house and tempted us the entire time it was in the oven. The spice mixture combined with the ale gave the stew a different flavor than any other stew that we make. The hint of nutmeg gave it an exotic touch. We loved the flavor so much that this one will go into our recipe box of favorites. I normally do not like leftovers, but we finished this up a couple of nights after we first made it and the leftovers were even terrific!

We followed the recipe directions fairly closely, but we have changed them slightly below for clarification. When browning meat, place only part of the meat pieces into a heavy bottomed pan with a little oil in the bottom. It should be done in the same pan that you will use to cook the stew in so that you can take advantage of the flavors in the pan when cooking the stew, preferably a Dutch oven or similar. We don’t have a Dutch oven (yet), so we use a large pot that is oven safe. Turn the heat to medium high and leave the meat to sear for a couple of minutes. You do not want to crowd the meat or it will steam more than brown. That’s why we brown the meat in batches instead of all at once. Don’t stir very often or it will not brown well. Be patient, then flip the meat pieces to brown the other sides. The idea is not to cook the meat, that will happen in the oven with the rest of the stew, but to give it nice color and additional flavor by browning the meat before adding it to the rest of the stew ingredients.

Just before the stew is ready, boil up some egg noodles or other type of pasta to pour the stew over. You will want the noodles to be fresh and hot, so read the instructions for cooking whatever you decide to use and plan accordingly.

The type of beer you use will make a big difference in the flavor of the stew. We used an ale which turned out great. Other types of beer would change the flavor, but I think most types would work. Don’t worry, all of the alcohol cooks off so it is safe for everyone. Use non-alcoholic beer if you prefer. The flavor is what matters, not alcohol. If you decide not to use beer at all, increase the beef broth to make up for it. It will completely change the flavor, however.

We hope you and your family like Belgian Beef Stew as much as we do!



Belgian Beef Stew 


Makes 6-8 servings



 belgian beef stew ingredients





6 pound boneless beef chuck-eye roast


Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil


slices bacon


pounds onions, halved and sliced into ¼ “ thick slices


garlic cloves, minced

1 ½

Tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme


teaspoon ground nutmeg


cup all purpose flour

1 ½

Tablespoons tomato paste


cup low-sodium chicken broth, canned or homemade


cup beef broth or beef bouillon


cups beer (ale)


bay leaves

1 ½

Tablespoons cider vinegar


Tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Egg noodles or rice, prepared according to package instructions





1.     Adjust oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat the oven to 3250 F.


2.     Preparing the meat: Take the beef chuck-eye roast out of the package and rinse it well under clear running water. Pat it dry with paper towels. Using your hands, break the meat apart into big segments along the natural seams in the meat. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut away the excess fat and silverskin (the fibrous membrane between the segments of meat). Cut the meat into 1 ½ -inch cubes. Salt and pepper beef pieces. Cut bacon slices into 1” wide pieces.


splitting beef along seams pulling silverskin off beef

cleaned beef


cutting bacon


3.     Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy pot over medium high heat until starting to smoke. Place 1/3 of the beef into the pan and brown on all sides, approximately 8 minutes. Transfer browned meat to bowl. Using the fat left in the pot, brown the remaining beef in two batches to avoid crowding in the pot so they will evenly brown. When browned, transfer each batch to the bowl.

                   browning beef chunks


4.     Add bacon to the now empty pot and cook over medium heat until beginning to brown and fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon of oil and add onion slices and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are soft, stirring often, about 5 to 7 minutes.


browning bacon

cooking onions with bacon 


5.     Stir in garlic, thyme, and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

 adding tomato paste and spices


6.     Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and beef broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Gradually whisk in beer until smooth and bring the mixture up to a simmer, not a boil. Stir in browned meat and any juices from the bowl.


7.     Add bay leaves and vinegar and return to simmer. Cover pot partially (lid should be off center to leave about 1 inch open). Transfer to the oven and cook until meat is tender and sauce is thickened and glossy, approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours. Stir well after the first hour.

                    simmering stew



8.     Take the stew out of the oven and remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley if you are serving it immediately. Otherwise, the stew can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 days. When reheating the stew, take the stew out of the refrigerator and remove the hardened fat from the surface. Gently reheat over medium low heat for about 30 minutes. Gently stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste before serving.



Belgian stew on green platter


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