Sunday, February 20, 2011

Recipe 2: Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry

This recipe was chosen because I had a bundle of asparagus that I bought and I also love stir fry. Putting asparagus in a stir fry seemed like a novel idea. I had heard of broccoli and other such vegetables in a stir fry, but never asparagus. This was a recipe I definitely wanted to check out.

Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry
Williams-Sonoma Simple Suppers, 2007.

1.5 lbs. sirloin steak
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 c. Hoisin Sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon chile oil
1/4 c peanut oil
1 thinly sliced yellow onion
3/4 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
steamed rice for serving

Chop, chop
 Lightly season the beef with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the hoisin sauce, sherry, chile oil and 1/2 c water. In a wok or large frying pan, warm the peanut oil.

Working in batches, add the beef and cook until lightly seared, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to plate. Add the onion and asparagus to the pan and cook until tender-crisp, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir fry for about 15 seconds.

There's the beef!

Return the meat and juices from the plate to the pan, add the hoisin mixture and mix well. Simmer briefly until heated through. Divide the rice and serve with beef and asparagus.

First off, this recipe was fun to prep, (although it did take me about 20 minutes to get my things in order and chopped) fun to make (using a wok is both fun and exciting!) and tasty. I bought a cheap wok from Ikea and this was one of the first times I was able to use it. Even though it was under $10, it still was able to conduct heat well and made for an even cooking surface. I enjoyed the cooking capability of the wok as compared to a normal frying pan.

The ingredient choice for this recipe was a bit more on the pricey side after you bought the ingredients that may not always be in your pantry. The hoisin sauce was not terribly expensive and can be used for a multitude of dishes-- same way with the chile oil. The peanut oil was a bit tough for me to find. Our Kroger did not carry it, thus launching me on a journey for peanut oil.
Wok and Roll
A good tip, try basamati rice instead of the usual Minute rice. This rice can still be made in under 30 minutes like the rest of the meal and provides a delicious, nutty flavor that the dish can stand up to. The rice has a different texture than what most may be used to and cooks as simply as the Minute rice from the obnoxious red box (Not to mention, you can get a 2lb. bag for $2 bucks and feed yourself for months!).

The book mentions having your butcher cut the sirloin into thin strips or simply freezing it for 30 minutes to help slicing go a bit more smoothly. I am not sure how close you are to the local butcher (let's face it, it's not like the Brady Bunch where our housekeeper is dating the butcher), but I aimed for the latter. Putting the meat in the freezer does make it a bit firmer, thus aiding the cutting process.

All in all, the dish was delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed the ease of preparation, the fun of 'wok'ing and rolling, and the overall taste of the dish. Some might guess a salty overtone, however the salt content is really up to the cook. The onions taste a bit sweet, but still have the bite that you hope for and the asparagus has a wonderful crunch. If you try this and enjoy it, feel free to swap asparagus for any vegetable -- broccoli, cauliflower and carrots would all make a lovely dish.

So far so good with this one.... I think we might be onto a book worthy of purchase, but I'll try a few more just to be sure.

Catch ya on the stir fry..... Ok, so maybe that one is a bit of a stretch!


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