The curious case of cookies combined with carbonnade…

Beef Carbonnade w. Beer, Marmalade & Gingersnaps

A beef carbonnade made with marmalade and gingersnaps.

Have you been to Gourmandistan? It’s a land known for its food — a place where things are often cooked in duck fat, strange and unusual flavor combinations are discovered and pork is a prized beast. It’s also the inspiration for this post, as I continue to try out one recipe a month from some of my favorite blogs.

Many things that Steve and Michelle (the primary residents of Gourmandistan) cook intrigue me, but when it came time to pick one dish to make, I already had the winner in mind. The title for the original post with the recipe was so clever it gave me some serious blog-envy, but it was the ingredient list that solidified my decision.

Gourmandistan’s version of a beef carbonnade, adapted from a Daniel Boulud braising cookbook, includes the following: Chimay beer, beef, bacon, creme fraiche, orange marmalade and gingersnap cookie crumbs. It’s like a list of my favorite things!

I followed their recipe to the letter except for the garnishes. I had made a parsley pistou earlier in the week and so I added a dollop of that to the noodles instead of the chopped parsley and poppyseeds. Served with a glass of wine (I drank the last of the Chimay while the meat was braising) and some homemade bread, this dish was a winner of epic proportions.

But let’s back up to the beginning, starting with the seemingly strange additions to any braised beef dish…

Beef Carbonnade w. Beer, Marmalade & Gingersnaps

Ok — the beer isn’t weird at all, but cookies? And marmalade? Craziness!

Despite those oddities, this carbonnade began in an expected manner…browned beef, lardons of bacon, onions and herbs.

I used a combination of pearl onions and sliced yellow onion.

I used a combination of pearl onions and sliced yellow onion.

Next came the slightly pricey bottle of Chimay (yum!) and the creme fraiche. And finally I added the tablespoon of pureed marmalade and a third of a cup of gingersnap crumbs. Then the mixture simmered gently until the beef was fork tender. I tasted it often as it cooked, trying to see if I could identify either of the unusual ingredients.

If asked at gun point, there is no way I could have figured out what was in this dish. The beer and bacon were quite discernible, but the rest of the ingredients married together to form a sauce that was an incredible balance of many flavors. The marmalade added a slight citrus tang that hit softly every few bites and the gingersnaps added an earthy depth.

The next day I reheated the carbonnade and served it with some buttered egg noodles, roasted carrots and the aforementioned parsley pistou. It was a meal perfectly suited for a blustery not-quite-spring day.

The next day I fed bites to uncertain co-workers all of whom loved the flavor just as much as I did.

I’m so happy my trip to Gourmandistan resulted in such an eye-opening (and belly pleasing) experience. Can’t wait to book my next trip there!

Beef Carbonnade w. Beer, Marmalade & Gingersnaps

Beef Carbonnade w. Beer, Marmalade & Gingersnaps

19 thoughts on “The curious case of cookies combined with carbonnade…

  1. You just made our night—thank you! Wasn’t that an interesting dish? All the other carbonnades I’d made before pale beside it. It’s funny because I hated that cookbook at first and now two of my favorite recipes come from it and I can’t wait to try more.

    • It was really lovely! The more I focused on the braising liquid/broth, the more I fell in love — the flavor was just fabulous. I honestly think that I’m going to have to incorporate cookies and marmalade into more things I cook!

    • I had no idea that that was a ‘thing’ but I’m glad I’ve learned my lesson! =) If I can stop eating them solo, I’ll have to keep a few boxes around every winter for braising season.

  2. oh, yum! I’ve seen gingersnaps in stews before but never dared. You did! What a fun blog to feature. Clever with the wordplay for sure 🙂

  3. Yes, I loved their post about the recipe (Oh, Chimay!) and I adore yours, as well. Your meal looks elegant, perfectly prepared and so rich. I can almost taste it through the screen (the beautiful photos don’t hurt). Best, Shanna

  4. What an interesting combination of ingredients. I’m sure I would not have been able to discern what was in the dish either, though I would eat it all because it looks fantastic!

    • It was definitely an easy dish to devour! One of those times I was happy I had lots of leftovers as it just got better with time. I’d certainly recommend giving it a try next time you need some warming comfort food!

  5. Omg those onions look absolutely delicious. I would just eat that and forget about the beef. Beer and bacon sound like a lovely combination. This is the kind of dish I would eat and ask for a second helping. I would love it with potatoes yum…thank you!

    • I know I am a sucker for caramelized onions! So sweet and delicious. And this would certainly be great with potatoes — something to help soak up the broth. Yum indeed! Thanks for stopping by! =)

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