I love stews and injecting a little Asian influence into a classic reinvents this Western dish. Although I have access to a number of great Asian markets, I opted not to make the trip and used like-ingredients such as sherry in lieu of the Chinese cooking wine and five individual spices instead of the Chinese five spice blend. If you cut the beef into smaller cubes and adjust the cooking time down a few minutes, your beef will absorb more of the surrounding flavour.
Adapted From: http://eatlittlebird.com
- 2 lbs beef chuck steak, cut into large cubes
- olive oil for frying
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 5-6 green onions, thinly sliced and separated into white and green parts
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 3-4 cm (1-2 inches) piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
- 1 t Chinese five-spice powder (fennel, anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper)
- 3 T Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry (you better believe I went with the sherry)
- 2 T all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef stock
- 3 T soy sauce, plus more to taste
- 2 t light brown sugar (or white sugar)
- 1 yellow pepper
- 3 large carrots, sliced thickly
- handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, oven-proof pan (such as a Le Creuset pot) over medium-high heat. Brown the meat in batches and remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add more oil between batches if necessary.
Once you have finished browning all of the meat, add to the pan the garlic, white part of the spring onions, chilli, ginger and Chinese five-spice powder. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Pour in the Shaoxing rice wine and let it bubble away for about a minute, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to make sure that any bits which have stuck to the pan are dissolved in the wine.
Return the meat to the pan, together with any juices which have collected while it has been resting. Sprinkle over the flour and stir everything together until the flour is dissolved and the liquid in the pan starts to thicken.
Pour in the beef stock and soy sauce. Add the sugar, pepper and carrots. Mix everything together well. Place the lid on the pan and put the pan into the oven for about 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so. Alternatively, you can cook this on the stove-top over low heat, making sure that you stir regularly.
The beef is done when it is soft and easily falls apart when pierced with a fork. Taste the sauce for seasoning and see if you want to add more soy sauce. If you would like to have more sauce, you can add some boiling water to the stew, though you might have to thicken it with some cornflour if the sauce is too thin.
I like to serve this stew with a good sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro, green spring onions (scallions) and some finely sliced red chillies for more kick. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice and some steamed green veggies, such as broccoli, on the side.