Today, lots of people will cook THE national classic: a beefstew with home-made pommes frites. Ask anyone in Belgium what he or she likes to eat best, and this will be the answer...
If you want to try it, here's how.
What you need (for 4 persons)
For the stew:
1 kilogram of beef (chose a side of meat with fat in it, otherwise your stew won't have taste) which you cut into pieces, 2 big onions, a bottle of brown beer (abbey beer is thought best), 2 soup spoons of syrup (from Liége), spices (thyme, cloves, laurel, pepper and salt), a slice of brown bread, mustard, vinegar and butter.
For the frites:
1 kg of potatoes
* Peel the onions and cut them in pieces
* Heat a big pot and melt some butter in it. Put the pieces of onion into it and let them bake.
* Take a pan and bake the pieces of meat in it. They should turn gold-brown. Spice the meat with pepper from the mill and a bit of salt.
* Remove your pan from the fire and put the meat into the pot with the onions. Add the beer, along with thyme, cloves and laurel. Also add the syrup.
* Spread mustard on the slice of bread and put this bread into the pot, with the covered side down.
* Allow the stew to cook a rather long time (2 to 3 hours) on a low fire. Stir every now and then and check if you meat is soft enough.
* At the end of the cooking time, add a little bit of vinegar and stir well.
* Add more pepper and salt to your liking.
The pommes frites:
* Peal the potatoes and cut them by hand into frites. They don't have to be too thin: an ideal Belgian frites is 13 mm.
* Don't wash the pommes, because then you remove the starch.
* Heat the oil or fat on 140° Celsius.
* Bake the frites for the first time, but don't let them color.
* Cool down the frites by putting them on kitchen paper.
* Then heat your fat to 180°.
* Now bake the frites until they are colored and 'sing'.
* The baked frites again go in a bown with kitchen paper.
Serve your frites and stew with a bit of mayonaise. Enjoy!