In the restaurants and bakeries of Lille in the north of France, you are bound to come across the traditional Flemish cheese tart, Tarte au Maroilles, typically served with salad and fries and washed down with a local beer. If you’d like to try it yourself you’ll find a recipe card at the end of this post.
Guinguette de la Marine
I first came across this scrummy tart at the welcoming traditional tavern, Guinguette de la Marine, by the canal on Quai de la Citadelle; we’d just finished a wonderful cycling tour of the city so the prospect of a hearty meal and a cool beer was more than welcome. It was just as well we had booked a table as, despite being empty before we left, it was full when we returned. This tavern was full of character with many interesting and quirky features. I particularly loved the swings at the bar; I’ve never come across this anywhere else.
Tarte au Maroilles Recipe
- 3 1/2 lbs chuck steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 medium yellow onions sliced about 1/4 inch thick
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups (12 oz bottle) Belgian beer
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Pat the beef dry with a couple of paper towels, then season well with salt and pepper.
- Heat half the butter in a large, heavy bottomed casserole pot on medium to high heat until it’s almost smoking.
- Brown the meat in batches about 3 minutes on each side without stirring. Put to one side.
- Add the remaining butter and reduce heat to medium.
- Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and brown the onions (takes about 15 minutes)
- Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned.
- Add the broth continually stirring.
- Stir in beer, thyme, bay, browned beef and any juices, and a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Increase heat to bring to a full simmer.
- Reduce heat to low, partially cover and leave cooking for 2-3 hours until beef is tender. Stir occasionally, loosening anything that sticks to the bottom of the pan.
- Half an hour before the cooking ends add the mustard and sugar.
- Remove the thyme and bay leaf.
- Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with boiled potatoes or chips washed down with the same beer used in cooking.
Disclaimer: I visited Guinguette de la Marine on a weekend hosted by Roubaix Tourist office, Lille Metropole, Nord Tourism and P&O Ferries, however, all thoughts expressed here are my own, honest opinions.
Adapted from an original recipe from Simply Recipes, Carbonnade Beef and Beer Stew.