My Paris Kitchen – Carbonade ala Flamande and Pain d’épices

It’s Saturday afternoon, and we, in coastal Florida, are decidedly “over” winter. We had our moment of cool weather – where the temperature dipped down into the low 40s on some mornings in January and February – but have promptly returned to lovely tropical weather. The air is a little more humid now; you smell the ocean air with every deep breath, and the ocean is returning to its milder, more enjoyable temperature, while families pack their cars to flock back to the beach for moments other than enjoying Starbucks on the boardwalk.

Strange, then, that we should be making a decidedly winter-weather dish. I know, I know… most ordinary people are just waking from their long winter’s nap, with the spring equinox right around the corner (as of the writing of this blog), so making a winter-weather dish isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.

I’ve just begun the Pain d’Épices; the heady smell of the typically “Holiday” spices has filled my kitchen, and has me closing my eyes, dreaming of Gingerbread and a White Christmas. I’ve just peaked through the oven window and it is coming together nicely. I think I will enjoy this bread even on its own. After having tasted it, it seems not quite as sweet as gingerbread, but similar to it, and quite delicious. On its own I have enjoyed it as I am running to the office, or with a cuppa at tea time to tide me over until dinner.


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I enjoyed the carbonade. I think I have made Julia Child’s from MTAFC, or at least something very similar. When you close your eyes and whiff at the pot gently gurgling away, the spices are reminiscent of phô. The addition of the bread was interesting. I enjoyed the flavor the spice bread imparted, but the previously velvetty texture of the carbonade was lost by the addition of it, I thought. It seemed to me that it was almost curdled. The beef was incredibly tender. I used my husband’s favorite beer, Rum Aged Innis & Gunn  in the cooking, and served the carbonade with fresh spaëtzle. Although delicious, I might only serve this for the coolest of “winter” days here, with it being officially back into the 90s, and this being a rather heavy dish. From a technique standpoint I might pulse the bread through a food processor with the mustard to help it better cook down into the pot, rather than just set the bread on top and stir it in.


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25 Responses to My Paris Kitchen – Carbonade ala Flamande and Pain d’épices

  1. Emily says:

    Another great looking loaf of spice bread! I like the color in your beef stew, very robust!

  2. Your bread looks so yummie. We loved it at our house and will make again.

  3. It sounds like you like your bread better. Me too. Your stew and the spaetzle are perfect together.

  4. It was still decidely cold enough for stew the weekend we made this one. Signs of spring are everywhere one looks around here, except the thermometer.

  5. hawley32 says:

    Your bread looks great and the stew is lovely- quite a bit thicker than mine- but I used a white bread. Next time will try the spice bread!! I agree, it surely is a dish for colder weather.

  6. Piebird says:

    It was a nice bread, but it barely qualified as truly “quick”! We’ve had warmer than normal weather too, but then got a foot of snow yesterday! That’s spring in Colorado, so wintery dishes are still seasonal here!

    • Nicole @ The 2nd 35 Years says:

      I lived in utah for a while, working for a big tech company, so I get it. We had weird seasonal weather through May usually.

  7. Teresa says:

    Spaëtzle was a great choice for accompanying this stew. I skipped the stew, as I’m the only one who eats meat in my household and I’d rather make it when I can share it.

  8. Funny that we are both ready for the new season!
    Your bread looks perfect! I’ve been thinking about it and I think it was the aniseed that threw me off, otherwise I did like it. Just not in the stew 🙂
    We both seem to be thinking along the same lines on this one!

  9. Pulsing the bread in a food processor might be the way to go (and I’d definitely add less next time – it was too overpowering for us!). Nice job!

  10. Kitchen Conundrum says:

    What a fabulous looking bread! I love spaëtzle and it would have been a terrific addition. Great idea!

  11. Cher says:

    Looks delicious, I can’t imaging making this in the heat. Our winter was much less wintry in the northeast, so I find that I haven’t been pining for spring quite as much as I normally would.

  12. That’s a great idea about pulsing the bread, Nicole! I’ll have to remember that. Yeah, I live in a relatively warmer area of the country as well (though not as warm as yours) so I had to suffice making it on a 60-degree day. 🙂 I agree that this is really a tumbling into the depths of winter dish to me as opposed to a climbing into spring. But, hey! It’s what the people wanted (hee hee)!

  13. It was fairly warm here too while I was making this dish…it most certainly is a cold weather dish, especially that time around Christmas! I was also a bit put off by the texture imparted by the bread and I would maybe try pulsing the bread next time.

  14. betsy says:

    The aroma really makes this one more suitable for the dead of winter. We had a mild winter in the Northeast, though I did enjoy the warmer temperatures of Florida for a change when I was there last week. We did NOT eat beef stew while there.

    • Nicole @ The 2nd 35 Years says:

      Yeah… not much beef stew being eaten at this time of the year here! Ah well… another time!

  15. Karen says:

    I bet the stew was wonderful with the fresh spaëtzle! Yum! I don’t think I would quite be in the mood for this stew either if it was in the 90’s already.

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