Weekly Winner: Changing Up Beef Stew – Chinese-Style

beef stewI’m not a huge fan of typical beef stew.  Cubes of beef with veggies in a broth is just not that exciting to me.  Pot roast is a bit better … succulent beef that falls apart or shreds at the lightest touch… better but not perfect.  Spicy shredded beef on noodles (and not just any noodles, but toothsome, slippery Udon noodles) – now you’re talking beef perfection!!!

Slow-Cooker Chinese Beef Stew with Noodles might just become my new favorite comfort food.  This is fancy enough for company but also perfect for cozying up on the couch in your jammies with.  To top it all off, it’s made in the slow cooker!  Hands-off comfort food.  You just can’t beat that!  I got this winner from Food Network Magazine.  It couldn’t be easier to prepare or tastier to eat.   I did change up the recipe one little bit:  it called for watercress as it’s “greenery”.  Hubby doesn’t care for watercress and I already had a combination of spinach and arugula so I used that.

Slow-Cooker Chinese Beef Stew with Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 pounds beef chuck roast

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1 pod star anise

1 9.5-ounce package dried udon noodles

1/2 bunch watercress, leaves picked (about 3 cups baby arugula and spinach combination)

Sliced scallions and balsamic vinegar, for topping

Procedure:

  1. Put the beef in a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker and season lightly with salt and pepper. Whisk the flour and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl until smooth, then whisk in the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste, chili-garlic sauce and ginger. Pour into the slow cooker and turn the beef to coat. Add the star anise. Cover and cook on low until the beef is tender, 7 to 8 hours.
  2. Discard the star anise and transfer the meat to a plate. Shred into bite-size pieces, removing any large pieces of fat. Skim off any excess fat from the liquid in the slow cooker. Return the meat to the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs; drain. Divide the noodles and beef stew among bowls. Top with the spinach/arugula, scallions and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Weekly Winner: Reconsidering My Stand on Beef Stew

I used to think that I just didn’t like beef stew. Perhaps it is that I’ve not tried hard enough to find the right recipe. After all, I love stew…. I love beef…. I love most vegetables….. therefore shouldn’t I love beef stew? Mind you they are never bad, but they are never spectacular, or even interesting for that matter. Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve only spotlighted one beef stew recipe (see: https://donnasquickqi.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/weekly-winner-a-spectacular-stew) which I thought was the exception to the rule. By that I mean a truly memorable beef stew.

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Well now I have two recipes. And with that, perhaps I need to change how I view beef stews. They don’t have to be bland and boring. Not if you know what to look for. Case in point: Slow-Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew from The Food Network Magazine. It was truly luscious, hearty and aromatic. But, unlike many beef stews (here I go again, bashing something I obviously am starting to embrace) it was incredibly fresh-tasting and bright.

Slow-Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew
serves 4

Ingredients
1/2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (13-14oz) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp finely chopped peeled ginger
Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for serving
4 scallions, sliced
2 cups cooked white rice, for serving

Procedure
1. Toss the beef with the flour, curry powder, allspice, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a medium bowl; transfer the beef to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the sweet potatoes and bell pepper to the bowl and toss to coat with any remaining flour mixture. Spread over the beef. Whisk the coconut milk and ginger in a bowl until combined; pour over the vegetables.

2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low, 7 hours. Uncover, stir well and let stand 10 minutes. Skim off any fat from the top. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt. Serve over rice; top with scallions and serve with lime wedges.