This Flemish beef stew, or carbonnade flamande, is the national dish of Belgium. It is the perfect dish to serve to friends on a cold winters evening. I love to serve it with crispy potatoes in their jackets but it would be equally lovely with smooth mashed potatoes which would just soak up the lovely rich gravy.
Marinate the beef overnight in the ale with the garlic and bay leaves.
The next day, drain the beef from the marinade, reserving the marinade.
Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper and toss it in the seasoned flour until evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour so it is lightly dusted.
Heat 2 tbsp of the rapeseed oil in the inner pot until hot and fry the beef in 3-4 batches for about 5 minutes per batch, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little more oil between batches but make sure it is hot again before adding the next batch. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and fry the pancetta in the inner pot, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden.
Scoop the pancetta out with a slotted spoon and set aside with the beef.
Add the carrots, onions and leek into the inner pot and fry, until they start to brown.
Add the tomato purée, the beef, the reserved marinade, the pancetta, the beef stock and bouquet garni to the casserole.
Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
Once boiling turn down to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the vacuum-insulated outer Mr D's Thermal Container.
Shut the lid and leave to thermally cook without power for a minimum of 4 hours.
Serve mashed potatoes or potatoes in their jackets and greens.
Based on a recipe by Keith Floyd from his book Floyd's China, "Chinese Beef and Carrots" is an ideal meal to cook in a thermal cooker.
Cuisine from Sichuan include a number of beef dishes as they are very popular among the Chinese Muslims and this was one of the areas Floyd visited during his TV series on China.
I have made a few alterations to the original recipe but it basically stays the same. Like all of my recipes they can be used in a slow cooker but you will not have the same energy saving as when cooking in a thermal cooker.
Add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and cook until golden brown.
Add the beef and all the remaining ingredients except the water. Stir well.
Pour over water to cover the meat and carrots.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the vacuum-insulated outer Thermal container, shut the lid. Leave while you start the rice in the top pot. If not using a top pot leave to cook for a minimum of 3 hours.
Cooking the rice in the top pot
Add the rice and water to the top pot and bring to the boil. Stir then turn down the heat and simmer for 1 minute.
Turn off the heat, open the vacuum-insulated outer Thermal container and place the top pot into the inner pot.
Put the lid on the top pot and shut the lid of the outer container.
Leave to thermal cook without power for a minimum of 3 hours.
Check the seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed