Saturday, January 6, 2018

Shaking Beef

When I had my Wolf range with closed burners, I would simply cook all my stir fry meals in a cast iron skillet. I did that because closed burners do not get very hot. The cast iron skillet would retain all of the heat and did a fairly decent job as a wok substitute.

My new Capital Culanarian range has open burners....the same kind used in commercial kitchens and restaurants. And I'm here to tell you they put out heat like you would not believe. So I went all in and got the wok attachment for the range and invested in a high-quality, carbon steel wok.

I am absolutely in love with the set-up and use the wok to prepare 2 to 3 stir fry dinners a week. I found La Tourangelle Pan Asian Stir Fry Oil on Amazon. The oil is infused with onion, garlic and ginger and adds an incredible dimension to the taste of my stir fry meals.

I came across this Mark Bittman recipe in The New York Times. It's a Vietnamese dish known as Bo Luc Lac. It is called Shaking Beef because of the constant shaking of the wok while you brown the beef. I made this dinner last Wednesday for Becky and I...and we both agreed it was a keeper. The most important part of the recipe is to cook the meat in 2 batches so that the meat gets a good, crisp sear.

1-1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons of oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup rice or white wine
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Salt and pepper
1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin
3 scallions, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
2 tablespoons butter
2 bunches of watercress (arugula works as well)
2 limes, cut into wedges


    1. Marinate meat with garlic, half the sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 tablespoon oil for about 2 hours. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, remaining sugar, wine, soy sauce and fish sauce in another bowl. Taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Mix about 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a third small bowl.
    2. Divide the meat into 2 portions. Put a wok over maximum heat, and add about 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil smokes, add the meat in one layer. Let it sit until a brown crust forms, and turn to brown the other side. When browned, set meat aside and brown the second batch.
    3.  When second batch of meat has been seared, return all meat to the wok.
    4. Add onions and scallions and stir for 30 seconds. Add the vinegar mixture and shake pan to release the beef. Add butter and keep shaking wok until butter melts.
    5. Serve beef over watercress, passing the salt and pepper mixture and lime wedges at the table.

    Wine pairing: We're talking steak here, so I would always go with a red. If you're getting a big refund on your 2017 taxes, I'd pick a Rombauer Zinfandel for $29.97 at Total Wine. If you have to pay Uncle Sam, choose a Bogle Zinfandel Old Vine for $7.97

    Me and Goldie, 1956

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