- 2 ¼ lbs of stew meat – wild boar is traditional, but heritage pork or beef can be substituted
- 2 large onions, cut in half and sliced into not-so-thin strips
- 2 carrots, peeled cut into rounds
- 16oz Belgian Strong Dark Ale
- ¼ cup red currant jelly – buy it here
- 1 whole clove
- 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 3 juniper berries
- ½ cup dried morel or porcini mushrooms, rehydrated for at least 30 minutes in some of the beer that has been warmed in a microwave – be sure and remove any grit at bottom and save soaking liquid for stew
- 2 slices of brown bread, crusts cut off and liberally spread with 2 tbsp of mustard
- 2 tbsp Belgian or Dutch Genever (preferred) or Bombay Sapphire Gin (TFD modification)
- A splash of balsamic vinegar (TFD modification, original recipe used regular vinegar)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of butter
- salt & pepper to taste
- Take a small piece of cheesecloth and tie the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, clove and juniper berries in. You’ll want to be able to remove it from the stew easily later on.
- Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Salt & pepper as if it were a steak.
- In a large, preferably cast-iron Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and brown the meat over medium heat. It’s best to do this in batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the meat. Overcrowding means the meat won’t brown, it’ll rather steam and you don’t want this. You want a nice crispy brown edge on each piece of meat. Set each batch of meat aside.
- Don’t be alarmed by the brownish ‘crud’ that forms on the bottom of your pan, and definitely don’t try to get rid of it… This is where a lot of the flavor forms.
When all meat is browned, turn up the heat a bit and pour the genever or gin (if using) or a splash or two of the beer in the pan. Scrape the bottom of your pan to loosen the browned bits the meat formed.
- When most of the bits are loosened and starting to dissolve in the beer, add the butter, the sliced onions, carrots & minced garlic, and continue to cook until the onions start turning translucent.
- Add the remainder of the beer, the mushroom soaking liquid, the browned meat, the cheesecloth sachet and the red currant jelly, and then place slices of mustard-slathered bread (mustard side down) on top of the simmering stew. They will slowly dissolve and thicken the stew as well as add additional flavor.
- Keep the lid off of your pot. Once you have reached the desired thickness of the sauce, only then place the lid on the pot. Be sure and cook over low heat for at least 3 hours in total until the meat is fork-tender.
- When the stew is ready, remove the cheesecloth sachet, add a splash of balsamic vinegar (if using) and stir.
- Serve with Belgian-style frites (that’s French fries here in the States), NO ketchup here – only mayo for dipping (TFD prefers a garlic aioli, personally). Belgian beer or ale is of course the drink of choice!