Buffalo (Bison) Carbonnade

Carbonnade is the Belgian version of French boeuf bourguignon, only the meat is braised in dark ale instead of red wine. Chimay—a Belgian ale made by Trappist monks—is traditional in this dish. But you can experiment with other types of ale or even stout. (A commenter below asks about using Guinness, which is ideal, and I've even used chocolate stout with nice results.) Our interpretation uses bison (buffalo) stew meat, which you can find online and in many health-food stores. Ounce for ounce, it has about 20% fewer calories and half the fat of beef. Grass-fed beef stew meat also works well here. Serve over egg noodles or our Celery Root, Potato and Apple Mash.


  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1-1/2 pounds bison (buffalo) stew meat, cut into 1-1/2 cubes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, thinly vertically sliced
  • 2 cups dark ale (such as Chimay Bleu)*
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • flat-leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)


  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and swirl in 1 tablespoon oil. Pat meat dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl, and dredge meat in flour, shaking off excess. Add meat to pan, and cook 4-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. (Brown the meat in batches, using extra oil as needed, so you don’t overcrowd the pan.) Remove meat from pan.
  • Swirl another tablespoon of oil into the pan. Add onion, and saute 5 minutes, or until tender. Add ale to pan, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Cook 2 minutes, or until until ale is reduced by half. Return beef to pan. Add stock. Stir in sugar. Add thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours and 15 minutes, or until meat is fork-tender. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Servings: 6
Note: Belgian ales like Chimay typically come in large, 750-ml bottles. If you substitute a dark ale sold in standard 12-ounce bottles, just use 1 bottle in this recipe and increase the stock to 1-1/2 cups.
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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!


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