Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Carbonnades à la nigerienne (beef and onions braised in chapalo)

This recipe is featured in my article: Chapalo, Pimps, and Julia Child

3 lbs of lean beef, sliced 2 by 4 inches across and 1/2 inch thick
2 – 3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs sliced onions
4 cloves mashed garlic
1 cup strong beef stock
2 – 3 cups chapalo (or light beer)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 large herb bouquet (6 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons wine vinegar

Heat about 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef in small batches and brown quickly, setting aside each batch on a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir the onions into the fat already in the skillet. Add more olive oil if necessary. Brown the onions lightly, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the garlic.

Arrange half of the browned beef in a slow cooker and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread half of the onions over the beef. Repeat with the rest of the beef and onions.

Heat the stock in the browning skillet, scraping up the coagulated cooking juices. Pour it over the meat in the slow cooker. Add enough chapalo so the meat is barely covered. Stir in the brown sugar. Bury the herb bouquet among the meat slices. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for about 4 – 5 hours or on low for about 8 – 9 hours (follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your slow cooker).

Remove the herb bouquet. Drain the cooking liquid from the slow cooker into a saucepan, and skim off the fat. Combine the starch and wine vinegar together to make a paste and beat this into the cooking liquid in the saucepan. Simmer for 3 – 4 minutes. Carefully correct seasoning. There should be about two cups of sauce. Pour the sauce back over the meat. Serve hot with potatoes or noodles.

Adapted from: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck

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