One of the most popular pairing for maple syrup is, doubtlessly meat. If you ever went to a Maple Bush ( a sort of feast where maple syrup is the main character), you might have noticed that one of the specials is roasted bacon glazed with maple syrup (just to be low on calories :)).
Also in this case, the successful pairing is connected to the reaction of the amino acids of the meat and the sugars of the syrup. During the cooking step, those molecules react to produce the famous compounds of Maillard’s reaction. It is thanks to those molecules that roasted meat is more savoury than the boiled one (although I love the Italian bollito misto, it has to be accompanied by a few dipping sauces ;)).
And today I had no hesitation on what to prepare for our food pairing practice. In fact, the first dish that came to my mind was stew. More precisely, carbonnades a la Flamande, the traditional Belgian stew that I enjoyed quite a few times during my stay in Brussels. Carbonnades is the Belgian version of boef bourguignon, with the only difference that red wine is replaced by bier (Belgian, of course :)). It is traditionally served with fries (Belgian, of course :)) and requires a long simmering, as all the stews.
The recipe? I can’t help going with the one of Cavoletto di Bruxelles, of course :) I have just modified it a bit (maple syrup instead of cassonade) and, mea culpa, I didn’t add the bacon as I forgot in the cart :P
While preparing carbonnades, I started to recall about Bruxelles, its boulevards, the smell of the boulangeries, the beautiful parks and my strolls in the Petit Sablon. And, how to forget about the shrimps, or crevette, of the North Sea, and the chocolate shops…And all those nostalgic cafes where to sit and sip a mint tea or a good bier, on those lazy Sunday afternoons, while listening to the clickety-clack of the raindrops that flowed slowly and, as the hours, passed, in the attendance of the Monday morning…
Carbonnades a la Flamande (by Cavoletto di Bruxelles, revised)
(Doses for 6 persons)
900 g of beef (a part suitable for stews)
660 mL of belgian beer
40 mL of water
800 g of scallions
50 g of butter
4 slices of bread
2 table spoons of vinegar
2 table spoons of maple syrup
mustard as needed
salt to taste
olive oil to taste
Pour a bit of olive oil in a frying pan, warm it up and add the beef cut in chunks. Let the beef brown and place it aside. Put the butter in a large pot and let it melt under medium flame. Add the maple syrup and the scallions peeled and finely chopped. Let the scallions caramelize and add the vinegar. Now, you can add the meat and the slices of bread with some mustard spread on the top of them. Pour the bier and the water, in order to cover everything. Add some salt and bring it to boil. Let the carbonnades simmer for 3 hours, under a low flame. Serve it warm with some potatoes (boiled, roasted or as per Sigrid, deep fried :)).