1. dijw Member

    Hope this is not too chatty, but this is the only way I can put this in context:

    I just arrived in Belgium, and recently completed my first shopping at a grocery store. I bought what I thought was beef for stew. The person accompnaying me was a little surprised at my purchase, and said to me,"You know that this is not steak!" I said I was aware, that I would cook it in a pot with spice, wine, onions and mushrooms, and that it would take a while. This seemed to convince him that I knew what I was doing, and he left me alone.

    I ate my stew last night -- and while it was not unpleasant, I now think my friend meant to say "This is not beef" rather than "This is not steak."

    Can someone tell me what animal the "charbonnade" I ate last night most likely came from? Just curious......

  2. La Ricaine

    La Ricaine Senior Member

    Hilton Head Island, SC
    USA (American English)
    From what I understand, charbonnade is more the way you cook it than the actual meat itself (i.e. pot roast is the name of the meat, but it's how you cook it, not the animal itself)

    It is beef, but it's supposed to be simmered in a sauce, either:
    "bourguinonne" like Beef Burgundy (that is, simmered in red wine)
    "flamande" that is, cooked in beer
    "boeuf mode" , cooked in dry white wine

    I guess the cut of meat is not very flavorful, so it's almost a given that it would be cooked in a strong sauce (usually alcohol) rather than stand alone or even lend its flavor to other food (i.e. in a stew)

    Also, a cut of "charbonnade" is about 5-6 mm thick. Also, it's customary (especially in Belgium!) to cook a charbonnade (or a pierrade) on a "plaque" or hot flat surface at one's table.. that's why there are more restaurants that do "charbonnade" than individuals.. you have to have the plaque!

    hope it helps
  3. La Ricaine

    La Ricaine Senior Member

    Hilton Head Island, SC
    USA (American English)
    OK, this is directly from a chef:

    "Le mot "charbonnade" n'existe pas dans le dictionnaire Larousse; toutefois en Suisse et en Belgique plusieurs restaurants portent cette enseigne et font une cuisine avec des bacs de charbon de braises sur table. Explication : les clients cuisent eux-mêmes leur viande à table."
  4. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    When you were told it is not steak, it meant that this piece of meat was not intended to be cooked as a (French) steak, i.e. grilled in a frying pan.
  5. dijw Member

    I cooked it, I ate it, and it was definitely NOT beef. I believe it was mutton, but as when I googled the word one of the hits was "ce sont des morceaux de viande.(boeuf-porc-cheval-côtelettes agneau..)" (emphasis mine) I was a bit curious. I have not tasted horse before, and was wondering whether I had perhaps broken my own personal taboo against eating it. Nothing that will cause me any great physical or emotional pain, mind you, just something I would rather not buy again.

    I took my friend's statement at first the same as you did, Jean, but again, having eaten the meal, all I can say is that it was not beef.
  6. boterham Senior Member

    Rijsel, France
    French, France
    As a Frenchman living right along the border with Belgium and having spent countless evenings in restaurants across Belgium, I think that what you are talking about is likely to be "carbonnade" and not "charbonnade". If what you ate wasn't beef, then it was probably horse meat as carbonnade can be either of those meats (in restaurants usually beef though). In Northern France we also have what we call 'la carbonnade flamande'.

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