As JH and I find ever more places to put our money, Chinese food falls to the bottom of the priority pile.
Back in more worry-free times of our DINKdom, we’d return from work, to call our favorite Oakland Chinese restaurant for delivery.
Beef and Broccoli for him.
Moo Shu Chicken for me.
Since moving to the Napa Valley, cheap Chinese delivery isn’t really an option. I mean, if we want to eat out, we need to save our pennies and make it an event.
Thus my foray into Beef and Broccoliland last night. The ingredients (not counting the pantry items) only came to about ten bucks and we both had tasty lunches the next day. I guess that means it serves four.
1 pound flank steak
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry
3 tablespoons chicken stock
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
5 tablespoons Oyster sauce
1 pound broccoli
1 bell pepper
1 inch of ginger
4-5 cloves of garlic
1/4 c peanut oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
a few green onions if you have ’em
rice, because duh, rice
Cut the flank steak into wee pieces about two inches by 1/4 inch. It can be easier if you faux freeze the steak first, serrated knives also help.
Set the steak in a bowl and pour the soy sauce over the meat. Mix it through, then set the bowl in the fridge.
In a liquid measuring cup, mix the sherry, chicken stock, oyster sauce, brown sugar and corn starch with a whisk until it’s all thick n’ viscous. Add more corn starch if it seems a little thin.
Set out of your way.
Now get chopping!
Chop the broccoli into wee, same-sized trees.
Chop the red pepper into much smaller same-sized pieces.
Mince the garlic and the ginger and put them in a bowl with about two tablespoons of the peanut oil.
(Sssh. Don’t wake them.)
Pull the meat out of the fridge and drain the soy sauce.
Now you can start making the rice. One of the nicer things about this recipe is that the rice finishes cooking at practically exactly the same time as the beef and broccoli.
Also, as you can see below, we threw in a chicken boullion cube in with the rice when it cooks.
What can I say?
Sodium becomes us!
Heat a large frying pan or wok pan or wok to smokin’ burning hunka love hot.
Add half the beef to the pan–don’t touch!–for about a minute.
Stir that beef all up and cook for another thirty seconds.
Remove to a bowl to rest.
Heat up the pan a bit, add a little more oil and add the rest of the beef.
Rinse and repeat.
Now the broccoli needs to be cooked!
YAY! MY FAVORITE PART!
Set the broccoli in the pan for another thirty seconds and add a half cup of water.
Cover the pan so the broccoli can steam for about three minutes.
(We cover our pans with nothing but the finest in aluminum cookware.)
Remove the broccoli to a cooler, drier place so it can cease cooking.
Now it’s red pepper time.
Recipe interruption: I had some problems with pan size here. The recipe I was working from used a giant wok. Because we got married in the early aughts instead of the early eighties, we have no wok.
Damn those kitchen trends!
(Actually, I’m happier with the deep fryer than the wok, so whatever.)
I changed to a big soup pot, something that worked okay for the tools we had.
(Since I doubled the dishes, I made sure to wash the extras.)
Now it’s REALLY red pepper time.
Add some more (a tablespoon) oil, heat that up to really hot and add the red peppers. Stir the peppers to cook, fairly frequently for about two minutes.
As they turn a wee bit brown, add the red pepper flakes and wake up the garlic/ginger/oil mixture.
Toss, toss, toss as if your life depended on it.
Add the broccoli to the pot and toss, toss, toss with the garlic/ginger/oil/red pepper mixture.
Add the beef back to the pot. Toss, toss, toss that with the garlic/ginger/oil/red pepper/broccoli mixture.
Now grab the sauce, remember that sauce?
Lo, from twenty minutes ago?
Grab the sauce and rewhisk it a touch until it’s thick and incorporated and lovely all over again.
Pour the sauce into the garlic/ginger/oil/red pepper/broccoli beef mixture and toss, toss, toss with fervor and passion.
Let the whole messy, gloppy mixture heat through for a minute or two or the time it takes to remove the rice from the pan and put into a serving bowl.
We enjoyed it with a decent shiraz and potstickers, but you’re welcome to enjoy it with licorice and milkshakes, if that’s your preference.