Friday, January 31, 2014

Lemongrass Beef Stew

In Austin, winter doesn't last long, so while it's here, I try to make the most of it.  We're a soup once a week or so type of family.  I embrace recipes that require long periods of time simmering on the stove or slowly cooking in the oven.

This recipe comes from my other Christmas present cookbook:  Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan.  I am so excited to cook out of this book, partly because I know I will learn some new cooking methods, some new ingredients, and some new recipes!

We loved this and our house smelled like loveliness for an entire day.  I started this in the morning, then set it aside and finished it later in the afternoon.

This serves 6 - 8.

Lemongrass Beef Stew
adapted briefly from Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan

3 lbs boneless beef ribs (I used chuck ribs, you could also use boneless short ribs or even boneless stew meat), cut into 1 1/2" cubes
4 T olive oil
1 t salt
1 large (about 2 c) onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c finely chopped lemongrass (cut in half, remove the thick out leaves and then finely chop)
3 T tomato paste
2 x 1" piece of ginger, peeled, then smashed or grated
2 whole star anise
6 c beef stock
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2" lengths
8 oz daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1/2" lengths
2 T fish sauce
1/4 c basil (Thai preferable), finely sliced, for garnish (optional)
1 hot chile (a Thai chile or jalapeño is preferable), thinly sliced, if desired

Place the beef in a bowl.  Drizzle with 1 T olive and sprinkle with 1 t salt and 1/2 t black pepper.  Stir to coat and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 T remaining oil over high heat.  Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides.  Set browned beef aside.  In same pot, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is a deep golden brown, stirring frequently.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add the lemongrass, tomato paste, ginger, and star anise and stir to combine.  Add the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot.  Pour the stock over top.  Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat so the stock is at a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is just tender.  Add the carrots and daikon, cover again, and cook an additional 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and the meat is very tender.  Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce.

To serve, top with basil and sliced chiles if desired.