Preparation / Directions:
In Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan, heat butter. Add meat and cook until well browned on both sides. Remove meat and set aside. Add onions to pan and cook until slightly browned. Stir in flour and sugar and cook until well browned. Stir in consommé and beer. Bring to boil. Return meat to pan. Add salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Cover tightly and simmer for 3 hours, or until meat is tender. Serve hot.
Serve with noodles or boiled potatoes.
Comments: Carbonade is a specialty of Northern France, where the climate is rough, and where beer is as common as wine is in the rest of France. Hence, Carbonade, a wonderful dish, made with beer.
The recipe sounds like rather coarse fare. Such a large quantity of onions and beer does not seem to be choice ingredients for a fine dish. But perhaps this is a good opportunity to point out an important feature of French cooking: no matter what the ingredients are, once cooked, the flavor of the dish should be delicate. Therefore, the strong flavor of onions never stands out in any preparation.
There is nothing mysterious about the way to prevent this taste from pervading the whole dish. Onions are always cooked in shortening until they are either slightly or well browned, and then they are slowly cooked for a long time. The browning evaporates the pungent flavor, and the slow cooking reduces the onions to a kind of puree, delectable to eat and easy to digest.
Recipe Source: THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING by Fernande Garvin