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Carbonnade a La Flamande Thick Sauce

Asked by angmack. Answered on 8th February 2014

Full question

Hi! I made the Carbonnade a la flamande this morning and it is divine! However, it emerged from the oven with a very thick gravy, only just enough to coat the meat. This would be fine if it were being eaten straight away, but it is currently refrigerated for reheating later and I fear it may have no sauce left at all by the time it is warmed through! What can I do to ensure there is plenty of gravy without compromising the currently amazing flavour? Many thanks!

Our answer

Nigella's Carbonnade A La Flamande (from Kitchen and on the Nigella website) is a hearty beef stew made with beer that is cooked slowly in a low oven. We suspect that the lid to your casserole dish (Dutch oven) didn't quite seal properly when placed on the dish and this will cause some liquid to evaporate, leaving a very thick sauce. Next time you cook the carbonnade it may help to put a piece of greaseproof paper or baking parchment (parchment paper) ove the top of the casserole dish before clamping the lid on. This will help to form a stronger seal and trap the moisture inside the casserole dish.

When you reheat the carbonnade you can add some water to help thin out the sauce again. Let the carbonnade heat up a little first on the stove top, to see how much the sauce thins as it warms up, then add cold water, a little at a time, until there is enough sauce to coat the meat, with a little over. Keep tasting the sauce as you add the water to make sure that you are still happy with the flavour. Once you are happy with the sauce's consistency and volume, reheat the casserole fully making sure that the sauce and meat are both piping hot. If you prefer you could add some extra beef stock but do taste carefully as you do this as there is a risk that the sauce ends up tasting too salty.

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