I’ve always enjoyed beef and broccoli from the Chinese take-out restaurant, but surprisingly I’ve never tried it at home.
One of the most enjoyable things about writing a blog is encountering other people from around the world who have shared interests. Before I started blogging a little more than a year ago, I was only vaguely aware of the concept of bloggers and the blogosphere.
Today, I’m an enthusiastic participant in a rich community of people whose writing I admire, whose online friendship I cherish, and whose willingness to open up their lives to strangers never fails to astound me.
I found this beef and broccoli recipe on one of the most interesting and entertaining blogs that I follow. It’s called Sybaritica, and it’s written by C. John Thompson, a Canadian public defender/food writer whose territory is literally the top of the world, composing of tiny villages above the Arctic Circle.
Although I subscribe to dozens of blogs, John’s is one that I will always drop everything and read whenever a new entry arrives in my inbox. He has a keen, curious mind and his subject matter is always interesting — whether he is writing about the challenges of representing defendants in remote Acrtic villages or reviewing exotic Asian cooking products.
I have frequently commented on John’s blog that he should consider writing a book or even a movie. His life is truly fascinating — sort of like “Northern Exposure” meets “Law and Order”.
This Beef and Broccoli recipe looked especially delicious, as it is one of my favorite carry-out dishes. It was actually quite simple to make and extraordinarily flavorful. Both Sandi and I enjoyed it very much, leaving me to wonder why I haven’t made this before.
Probably because we don’t usually cook with beef, preferring instead lower-fat alterntives such as chicken or ground turkey breast. This recipe may change that.
Beef and Broccoli
3/4 lb Beef Steak (I used flank steak, tenderized with a mallet)
2 cups Fresh Broccoli Florets
1/2 Medium White Onion, cut into wedges then separated
2 TBS plus 1 tsp Cornstrach
1 TBS plus 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup White Wine
3 TBS Oyster Sauce
1 TBS Granulated Sugar
2 TBS Grated Ginger
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
1 cup White Rice
Handful of Frozen Peas
1. Blanch the broccoli by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Drop florets into boiling water, cooking about one minute, then strain into colander, return to pot and cover with cold water to stop the cooking process. This can be done earlier and stored in the refrigerator.
2. Pound beef flat with a meat mallet or the bottom of a cast iron pan to tenderize it, then cut it into 1″ to 2″ pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with 2 TBS cornstarch, 1 TBS baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Let sit for about 20 minutes so the baking soda can further tenderize the meat.
3. Make a sauce by combining the stock, wine, oyster sauce, sugar and 1 tsp cornstarch in a bowl. Whisk it so that the cornstarch doesn’t clump.
4. Cook the rice. I used my rice cooker, adding the rest of the can of chicken stock, a handful of frozen peas for color/texture, and a little S&P.
5. Heat a cast iron pan over a high heat (or a wok if you have one). When very hot, add 1 TBS of the EVOO. When smoking, add the meat and stir-fry until brown and crispy, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
6. Remove meat to a bowl and let the pan get hot again. Then add remaining TBS of EVOO, get it smoking hot, and add garlic and ginger. When the ginger becomes fragrant (less than a minute) add the broccoli florets and toss together. Let broccoli heat through for a moment or two, then return meat to the pan, along with the sauce. Cook until the sauce reduces and becomes thick, about two minutes. Serve immediately over rice.
This is a wonderful dish to warm up a cook Autumn evening. If you like it spicy, add a 1/2 tsp of dried red pepper flake during the final two minutes of cooking.
I’m grateful for having met so many interesting and giving people like John who are willing to share their knowledge and even their lives with the rest of us. And I’m looking forward to watching that movie!