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.