Foodie Fall!

Foodie Friday

Sep 30, 2011 by

Fall is in the air.  No, forget that, fall is here! After an outrageously hot summer, the nights are finally in the 40s and 50s. Time to bring back the comforting things in life: sweaters, flannel sheets, toasty robes, hot spiced cider and meat.

Admittedly, I am a meat person.  In the summer I tend to chicken and fish, but with the first taste of fall, I crave “real” meat: soups, stews, roasts, chili, all in the best tradition of comfort food.  A favorite (and this week’s staple) is formally known as Carbonnades a la Flamande. My onion-hating daughter refers to is as “that onion thing”.  Nevertheless, she loves it!

There are a couple of secrets.  First, you cook the onions until they practically disappear.  The result is gravy that is nearly the color and consistency of chocolate sauce. Second, you use the cheapest, tastiest cut of beef you can find and cook it until it is fork-tender. (Somehow the grocery seems to anticipate my craving and there is always a humongous cut of beef on sale just as the hunger strikes.) By the way, don’t try this unless you have all afternoon to keep an eye on things.  It’s not a last minute meal.

 That Onion Thing


2-3 pounds of beef (the cheap cuts seem to be the tastiest)

2-3 pounds of onions

1 12oz. can of beer.

Flour for dredging

Salt, pepper and spices to taste

Olive oil

Several crushed garlic cloves (optional)

Pasta (large pieces such as farfalle or campanile work best)


  1. You need a heavy, deep pot.  I use a wonderful old cast-iron dutch oven that weighs a ton.
  2. If your beef is fatty, slice off most of the fat and brown it in a little bit of olive oil in the pot. If you like garlic, this is a good time to add a few crushed cloves.
  3. Meanwhile, cube the beef (nice, fat cubes) and dredge it in the seasoned flour.  I always season the flour with Soulard Grill, a fabulous mix from our historic Soulard Farmer’s Market (now available online at
  4. Remove the fat from the pot and add the beef a few cubes at a time, browning it on all sides.
  5. Meanwhile, dice the onions and set aside.
  6. When all the beef has been browned, add the onions to the pot along with the can of beer, scraping up the meat juices that have stuck to the bottom.  Cook over low heat until the onions are mush.  (I use a potato masher at the end to ensure that they are thoroughly crushed.) This may take 45 minutes to an hour.
  7. When the onion mush is ready, return the beef to the pot, cover and cook for 90 to 120 minutes on low (more if your beef is really tough.) Add a little water if needed.

Serve over pasta (or boiled potatoes if you prefer) with a green salad and a glass of beer.

About the Author

Tani Wolff Has Written 17 Articles For Us!

I also write for a college admissions blog and create marketing materials. However, my true passion is preparing articles about Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ upcoming festival season. I spend eight to ten months each year researching the composers, librettists, time periods and performance records of our productions (as well as the music) to put together pieces that will enhance the enjoyment of our fabulous and devoted patron community. It is truly a labor of love.
Getting The Latest Tweet...
Did you know Tani has a blog? Go see what you're missing...
Share With Your Girlfriends and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • FriendFeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Posterous
  • Tumblr

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *