Northern France Tourism : official website

The plate presented with Carbonade and fries

The many variations on the Carbonade...

The Carbonade has always filled our region’s houses with a delicious odour, but the aroma depends on the preparation. There are many recipes which are enhanced according to subtleties of the creators’ taste. It all depends on the list of ingredients and the way it’s cooked. First of all, choose the pieces of beef, the spices and let them stew in beer (lager, pale ale, or brown ale). The alcohol evaporates leaving the bitterness to pervade the sauce. It has been compared with an upmarket stew, such as Hungarian “goulash”, the Antilles’ “colombo”, Indian “curry” and Italian “spezzatino”. In fact the Carbonade is a universal dish. Revamped by audacious master chefs, it is reworked to become the stylish dish on a gastronomic menu.

Ingredients of the recipe: gingerbread, onions, etc.
  • A sweet tooth adds gingerbread and brown sugar.
  • © Laurence Henniquau

The Carbonade - an immense pleasure

Just seeing it gently simmering in the cooking pot without a cover, letting the odours evaporate to tease your nostrils - you will be impatient to taste it. Above all, with a serve of fries which can be dipped in the unctuous sauce, caramelised by the gingerbread and the brown sugar. The meat, cooked at low heat, melts in your mouth, giving an impression of extreme delight. To be tasted without moderation at home or in an “estaminet”, a Flemish tavern, where you will find a friendly and festive atmosphere.

The Carbonade simmers gently in a red cooking pot on the stove
  • The Carbonade simmers
  • © Laurence Henniquau


For 6 people




2 - 3 hours +




1.4kg beef (shoulder, chuck, shin, skirt, etc ) ● 70cl brown ale ● 3 onions ● 3 slices of gingerbread ● 3 tablespoons of brown sugar ● 3 tablespoons of flour ● 4 tablespoons of vinegar (balsamic or wine) ● 4 tablespoons of oil ● 50g butter ● Bay leaves, thyme, cloves ● Salt, pepper


  • Cut the meat into large cubes. In a large cooking pot, ideally cast iron, heat the oil and butter at a high temperature, then add the meat and brown it on each side for 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Add the thinly sliced onion, then the flour and mix together rapidly.
  • Deglaze with vinegar and mix again quickly, then add the beer.
  • Lower the heat as much as possible.
  • As soon as it starts to boil, add the brown sugar, the crumbled gingerbread, several cloves.
  • Add salt and pepper, several bay leaves and twigs of thyme.
  • Leave to simmer for at least 2 - 3 hours, regularly stirring so that it remains melting and unctuous. Tip: cook it the day before, it will be even better.
All the ingredients for preparing the Carbonade presented on the kitchen table
  • Good products are the key to success
  • © Laurence Henniquau

What you need to succeed your Carbonade