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America's Test Kitchen 7x3

Best Beef Stew

Join us as we uncover the secrets behind a favorite beef stew and streamline a hearty side dish.

A basic beef stew can be altered in dozens of ways, usually by adding more ingredients to the pot. But can you go the other way and strip beef stew down to its bare bones (or, to be more precise, to its beef)? If you trade the carrots and potatoes for a mess of onions and add a good dose of beer (instead of red wine) as part of the braising liquid, you’ve created a simple Belgian beef stew called carbonnade à la flamande. Beef, beer, and onions have a natural affinity—think burger, onion rings, and a beer. In a carbonnade, the heartiness of beef melds with the soft sweetness of sliced onions in a lightly thickened broth that is rich, deep, and satisfying, with the malty flavor of beer. We aimed to create the very best version of this cold-weather favorite. Sweet acorn squash makes a worthy partner alongside carbonnade or with many other dishes during the cold weather season, but too often this squash turns out dry and stringy. We wanted to devise a method that ensured sweet, tender squash, without a lot of hassle.

Recipes:

Carbonnade a la Flamande—Belgian Beef, Beer, and Onion Stew

Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

Acorn Squash with Rosemary-Dried Fig Compote

Tasting Lab: Beer for Carbonnade

Equipment Center: Paring Knives—Updated

Science Desk: Are All Microwaves Created Equal?

America’s Test Kitchen: 7×3
Jan. 20, 2007

America's Test Kitchen season 7