Beer & Food: Carbonnade of Beef from the Courthouse Hotel

October 2, 2010, by Crafty Pint
Beer & Food: Carbonnade of Beef from the Courthouse Hotel

Judging by the growing number of beer dinners indicates, the pairing of beer and food is becoming ever more popular, aided by the likes of high profile characters like Paul Mercurio and Chris Badenoch bringing the concept of cooking with beer to TV audiences. So we thought it would be a good idea to have regular beer and food recipes and pairings on The Crafty Pint.

We thought we’d start with a good one, too. Anyone who’s been to one of the beer dinners at North Melbourne’s Courthouse Hotel, where they’ve hosted the likes of Mountain Goat, Bridge Road and the Yarra Valley’s brewers in the past, will know they do it excellently, matching exquisite food with the beers on offer. The man responsible for turning the Courthouse from the boozy den it was into the refined establishment it is today is Scott Thomas, the highly respected chef who’s also building a reputation for his other venue, South Melbourne’s Montague Hotel.

He’ll be publishing his first book of recipes in the coming weeks and has been good enough to give The Crafty Pint a sneak peek at one of them. Bon appetit!

Carbonnade of Beef
with mash, parsley and horseradish salad

Serves 4

Carbonnade a la Flamande is a traditional Flemish dish that incorporates beer in the braise, imparting a unique flavour. It is similar to the French daube, which uses red wine in much the same way. As a dish it really fits pub cooking to a T! My version includes a touch of spice to work alongside the beer.

Carbonnade of beef

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 ox cheeks, each weighing around 260 to 300 g (9 oz to10½ oz)
Olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stick celery, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 green cardamom pod
5 coriander seeds
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs of thyme
Olive oil
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
600 ml (1 pint 1 fl oz) of an aromatic draught beer, such as Stone & Wood Lager (i.e. nothing too dark or bitter) 250 ml (9 fl oz) chicken stock
250 ml (9 fl oz) veal stock

Parsley and horseradish salad

1 small bunch of parsley, picked and washed Olive oil Pinch of salt A small knuckle of fresh horseradish

Carbonnade of beef

  • Generously season the ox cheeks with salt and pepper and cook in a hot frying pan with a little oil. Colour evenly on all sides. Drain the cheeks of any excess fat and set aside.
  • Place the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, spices and herbs in a heavy based saucepan along with a drizzle of oil. Sweat over a low heat until the vegetables become soft, aromatic and lightly coloured.
  • Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until the juices have nearly evaporated.
  • Add the beer and reduce again by half.
  • Add the cheeks, and the chicken and veal stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook covered for about 3½ hours. The meat will be very tender when cooked but should not be falling apart. Carefully remove the cheeks to a tray and set aside.
  • Pass the braising liquid through a fine strainer into a clean saucepan. Return to the heat and simmer to reduce by half. The liquid should start to thicken and take on a sauce-like consistency.
  • Return the cheeks to the sauce to warm through. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Parsley and horseradish salad

Place the parsley in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in a serving bowl and grate over a little fresh horseradish.

To serve

Place a good spoonful of mash in the centre of a bowl and top with one of the ox cheeks. Generously spoon over the sauce and serve with the salad.

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