Recipe: Stoofvlees (Belgian Beef Stew)

Serves 2-4 (on a bed of French fries)

Stoofvlees is a typical stew in that there are as many variations as there are people making it. Depending where you live in Belgium, Stoofvlees might have more or less vinegar, slightly different spices, and a textural range from soupy to thick and sludgy. My thick, hearty version sits well on fries, but if you want it more “soupy,” feel free to add more beef stock.


For the marinade

1 pound stew beef, cubed
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp coarse mustard
2 tbsp oil

For the stew

vegetable oil
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Belgian beer
1 – 1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp molasses


1. Add meat to a small casserole with lid (or plastic bag). Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over meat and squish around to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

2. Heat an oven-safe, heavy bottomed pot with some oil. Meanwhile, remove rosemary sprig from meat mixture and toss with flour
(the meat mixture, not the rosemary :) ).

3. Brown meat in pot for a few minutes. Then add remaining ingredients: beer, broth, bay leaves, molasses, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Make sure to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. They’ll make the stew yummy!

NOTE: As the stew reduces, the salt flavor will intensify. So under-salt now -you can always add more at the end.

4. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for several hours (minimum 2). I cooked mine all afternoon, which is why it is so thick. Yum! :) NOTE: If you need the sauce to thicken up in a hurry, remove the lid.

OPTIONAL: Take 1/3 of the meat mixture and puree in a food processor. Return to the stew. This will thicken the stew up, making it better for spooning over (and clinging to) French fries, just the way the Belgians like it!

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  1. The recipe looks exotic and amazing. The picture looks so delicious. What would be the substitute of belgian beer? It’s not easy to find here.

    • Hi Tes, You’ll be okay to use any beer that you enjoy (similar to cooking with wine -if you like the flavor to drink, you’ll like the flavor in your stew) Good luck! :)

  2. This must have been a great meal….I probably would have added sour cream or yogurt..

  3. I’ve just finished stuffing myself on Stoofvlees. We did as you said and marinated it overnight and simmered it for five hours, and the result was rich, complex, totally amazing flavor. If you’re thinking standard beef stew or slow-cooked beef that basically tastes like bouillion cubes, be prepared for a revelation. It’s even better than Cuban ropa vieja, which until now was my all-time favorite slow-cooked dish.


  1. […] … beer? Hmm. I can roll with that. After all, I used all three to season my stoofvlees (Belgian beef stew). […]

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