Beef and Broccoli
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
For the Dish:
- 1lb Skirt or Flank Steak
- 2 Medium Heads of Broccoli
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves
- 1 Knob Fresh Ginger
- Grapeseed or Canola Oil for Searing
For the Sauce:
- 2 ½ Cups Water
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- ¼ Cup Cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon Molasses
- ¼ Cup Soy Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
Note: This sauce is a base and should be customized to your liking after you’ve cooked and tasted it. You can always add more of anything but you can never take it out. This sauce recipe will make enough for two stir-fries.
- Have a large pot of water sitting over low heat so it can be brought to a boil quickly.
- Add ½ cup warm water to a mason jar and add the honey and cornstarch. Shake to dissolve, then add the molasses, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper and five spice. Add the remaining two cups of cool water. Shake vigorously and set aside till needed or refrigerate for up to two days.
- Cut the beef against the grain into bite-sized pieces and combine with two Tablespoons of the sauce.
- Peel and mince the garlic and ginger.
- Cut the broccoli off the stem into florets, then cut any large florets into bite-sized pieces. Bring the water to a boil and then blanch the broccoli for 1 minute or until it turns a bright green color. Immediately drain the broccoli and either plunge it into an ice bath or run cold water over it to stop the cooking process. Allow the broccoli to drain thoroughly in the colander.
- Remove the beef from the marinade and pat it very dry with paper towels.
- Heat a large cast iron pan or wok over medium heat. When it is hot add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom and heat till it shimmers, about 30 seconds. Sear the meat in batches to your desired doneness, allowing to brown but be careful not to overcook it or it will be rubbery.
- Remove the meat to a platter, add more oil and the ginger and garlic. Stir Fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add the broccoli and stir-fry for a minute more.
- Shake the sauce and add half of it to the stirfry, keep the mixture moving and keep the heat high enough that the sauce is simmering. Cook until the sauce thickens to your liking. Turn off the heat and stir in the beef. Taste and adjust as needed, serve with rice if desired.
- For a deeper flavor add molasses and sesame oil. If it is bland add soy sauce or salt. For more balance add honey, sugar or brown sugar. For a different flavor profile omit the molasses and add brown sugar and oyster sauce.
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What is the purpose of blanching the broccoli?
- It looks really cool and...
You are pre-cooking it so that it will be the perfect texture when it is stir-fried. The quick dip in boiling water begins to soften it and the ice batch stops that process so it doesn't turn to mush. A properly cooked vegetable can make a world of difference in how your stir-fry turns out.
Why should I dry the beef?
- Steamed beef is not your friend...
If you have a lot of liquid in the pan the meat will steam, not sear. You want it to caramelize, that’s where all the flavor is at.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
My mom was (and still is!) an excellent cook when we were growing up. I remember her telling me that when she got married she was so excited because she knew how to make sloppy joes which were a tantalizing mixture of ground beef cooked with KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce and scooped into a hot dog bun (I will always have a soft spot in my heart for her rendition of sloppy joes). She worked her way up from there and we had a rotating selection of dinner delicacies, supplemented by the occasional frozen pizza when things got out of hand.
The one dish I could not get behind, however, was the stir-fry. We had one of those electric skillets you plug in with the high sides, and she would stir-fry a bag of frozen vegetables with some thinly sliced pieces of beef, add it to white rice and serve it with soy sauce.
I was not a fan and usually picked out the beef, water chestnuts, and little corns and ate them before spreading the rest of the food out on my plate so it looked as if I’d eaten more.
Fortunately, in more recent years I have discovered that there are a lot of different types of stir-fry’s and the taste is largely dependant on the sauces and proper cooking of the vegetables and meat. The original sauce recipe that I was working with called for dark and light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and several other hard to find ingredients.
So instead I added molasses, as dark soy sauce is just soy sauce sweetened with some kind of sugar or the aforementioned molasses. This sauce is designed as a base and you should definitely add more spice, salt or sweetener to match your family’s taste! If you’re not a molasses fan, try some brown sugar and oyster sauce! Who knows, maybe the picky child, like I once was, will even like it!