When I first made Beef Carbonnade, I included parsnips and potatoes in the stew, but I now prefer having them as a separate accompaniment.
It is very important that you dry the meat well or it will not brown properly.
3 to 3½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 to 1½-inch cubes, dried with a paper towel
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large Spanish onions, diced
5 carrots, peeled, if desired, and cut into large chunks
2 celery sticks, cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon dried thyme (not powdered)
2 bay leaves
2 bottles dark beer
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
¼ cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
1. Place the salt, pepper, and flour on a baking sheet, mix to combine and add the beef. Toss until the beef is dusted with the mixture.
2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and when it is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the beef cubes, a few at a time, allowing the pan to reheat for about 30 seconds between additions. Cook until they are well browned on all sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. This will take two to three batches. Remove the beef cubes and set aside.
3. Reheat the skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the onion and cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, thyme, and bay leaves, and cook for 5 minutes. Return the beef to the skillet. Gradually add the beer and cook until it comes to a low simmer. Lower the heat to the lowest possible setting and cook, partially covered, for 1½ hours. Discard the bay leaves.
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. Reheat, covered, over low heat and just before serving, add the mustard. Transfer to a large heated serving bowl and serve immediately. Garnish with the thyme and parsley.
From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)