Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Repost: Beef with Orange-Chili Stir Sauce















I tried out a new recipe, Beef with Orange-Chili Sauce, from the book Stir-Fry (Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library) which is one of Robert's cookbooks. Now, you have to understand that I really don't like Chinese that much. If and when we go to a Chinese restaurant, there's usually only one or two things that look appetizing and even that is a big maybe! Sometimes we go to P. F. Chang's China Bistro, and I will get the Sweet & Sour Chicken (which is really good!). The last time we went, they had something new called Sichuan Flatbread which was really good, too! It's more like a quesidilla than anything.

ANYWAY, when I saw this book with all the other cookbooks that we have, I decided I would try to do a stir-fry this week. Each of the recipes has a picture, so that's a big help. Have I ever mentioned that I'm somewhat of a picky eater? I am.

Here's the recipe, and then I'll tell about my experience with it.

Beef with Orange-Chili Sauce

For the Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup (3 fluid ounces/80 mL) chicken stock, preferably Chinese style
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Other ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons (2 fluid ounces/60 mL) peanut or vegetable oil (divided)
  • 12 small dried red chili peppers
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips 2 inches (5 cm) long and 1/2 inch (12 mm) wide (I now use carrot matchsticks.)
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded, deribbed, and cut into strips 2 inches (5 cm) long and 1/2 inch (12 mm) wide (I use a whole bell pepper and sometimes add another pepper of another color as well.)
  • 1 lb. (500 g) flank steak, sliced in half horizontally and then cut into thin strips 2 inches (5 cm) long and 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide
  • 1 orange, peeled, with all white pith removed, then divided into segments and each segment cut in half crosswise (I now use a small can of mandarin oranges.)
  • 3 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, thinly sliced (I usually skip this because I hate buying a whole bag of green onions only to have them go to waste.)
Directions:
  1. First, make the sauce by combining the chicken stock, soy sauce, orange zest, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the cornstarch and set aside.
  2. In a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chilies and stir and toss until they turn dark red, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Raise the heat to high and add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, swirling to coat the bottom and sides. When the oil is ver hot but not quite smoking, add the carrot and bell pepper and stire and toss every 15-20 seconds untilo they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add to the bowl holding the chilies.
  4. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, again swirling to coat. When very hot but not quite smoking, add half of the beef strips and stir and toss every 15-20 seconds until browned but still slightly pink inside, 2-3 minutes. Be sure to distribute the meat evenly in the pan so it comes into maximum contact with the heat and cooks evenly. Add to the bowl holding the vegetables. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the remaining meat in the same manner.
  5. Return the chilies, vegetables, and meat to the pan. Quickly stir the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Stir and toss over medium-high heat until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in the orange segments and green onions and serve immediately.
I couldn't find any Chinese chicken stock, so I got the regular chicken stock. I did use peanut oil, although it was very expensive (I couldn't remember what the other choice was. If I'd remembered that it was vegetable oil, I would've stuck with that. But at least now I have peanut oil for the next time.) I couldn't find any flank steak (in fact, I don't even know what that is exactly), but I did find some beef stir-fry that was marked down! It worked beautifully because it was already cut into strips. I just cut them in half. Robert even mentioned that I did a wonderful job cutting the meat. I laughed and said I couldn't take full credit for that. I didn't cut the orange segments in half because I didn't see that part. I found the dried red chilies by accident before I was going to look for them.

This was an easy recipe to do. It was messy what with the oil spattering all over the place, but it was a lot of fun. Robert mentioned that it'd probably be great with garlic, so I will add that next time. I thought maybe it could use some onions, too. The beef was somewhat bland, so I would like to marinate it. Robert suggested pineapple juice. Also, I will likely add more carrots than just the one as well as the whole red pepper.

By the way, the recipe says it serves 4, but we ate all of it. It was that good!

Repost from my personal blog, Kinsey Family Blog.
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