Saturday, August 17, 2013

Beef with Broccoli

Ah, I'm finally able to eat anything I want!  Now I just need the time to cook it.

This is a variation of the "Asparagus with Beef" recipe out of Sunset's Oriental Cook Book, which is so old it not only refers to Asian cooking as "Oriental", but it calls tofu "bean curd" and explains what Dim Sum is.  It was originally published in 1970, and my copy was printed in 1974.  If you can get around the dated material, the basic principles of the recipes are sound.

It did mention an ingredient I hadn't heard of, "bean sauce".  I wondered if it was just soy sauce, but that's a separate ingredient.  What I found in Pavilions' rather limited Asian section was something sitting next to the Hoisin sauce called Black Bean Garlic Sauce.  There's a photo of a stir-fry dish on the label, so I figure that's it.  At the very least, Roommate Smurf and I stir-fry often enough to use up the jar in a couple of months.  It isn't cheap, but it goes a long way.

I bought chuck steak instead of flank steak because of the package size.  They're both tough cuts of meat that should either be cooked quickly after being sliced very thin across the grain or slowly with a braising liquid.

In this version, and several others I found, the thickening agent of cornstarch is part of the marinade.  It's unusual, but it works.  I'm cutting down the recipe from two onions to one, assuming that onions are now much larger than they were in 1970.  The beef and veggies were listed by weight.  I'm also rearranging the cooking process to reduce the number of dishes and so that the meat isn't sitting half-cooked on the side for ten minutes.  I just got 100% on my ServSafe manager's exam(!!!) and don't like that idea.

1 pound flank steak
*1 tsp cornstarch
*soy sauce
2 medium broccoli crowns (about 1 lb)
1 large yellow onion
1/4 C vegetable or peanut oil (NOT olive oil)
3 Tb bean sauce
1/2 tsp sugar

1.  Cut steak lengthwise (with the grain) in 2-1/2" strips, trimming fat as you go.  Then cut across the grain into 1/8" thick strips.  Put meat in bowl and add 1 tsp salt, cornstarch, and 2 tsp soy sauce.  Toss to coat evenly and place in fridge until needed.

2.  Cut onions in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/4" slices.  Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets.  You may have to cut some in half.  They should be large enough that you can pick them up with chopsticks, but don't need to use a knife at the table.

3.  If making rice as a side, start that now.  Once it is simmering, heat oil in a wok or deep-sided skillet over high heat until wavy.  I know it sounds like a lot of oil, but it's going to work.

4.  Add onion to pan and stir-fry until pieces are separated and beginning to cook, about a minute.  Add bean sauce and stir to coat.  Add broccoli, sugar, and a tablespoon of soy sauce.  Stir to create a thin sauce and to make sure broccoli starts to cook.  Cover pan and allow broccoli to steam between stirrings, about a minute at a time.  When onions begin to get translucent and broccoli is almost done, remove cover and add meat.  At this point, you have to stir constantly so the meat browns evenly and doesn't get overdone.  One the surfaces of all meat pieces are lightly browned and the sauce has thickened, remove from heat.  If you're lucky, the rice is done.  If not, cover pan to keep warm until ready to serve.

Difficulty rating  :)

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