Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage "Noodles"

Want to spend 3 hours making dinner?  Who doesn't!  Don't worry, this recipe has easy and minimal prep, otherwise simmering on the stove unattended.  This stew is full of south east asian flavors, rich and spicy.  

When browning the meat, start with a hot pan that is not too full.  If there are too many pieces of meat in the pan they will end up steaming without color.  We are looking for a deep brown, crust to form.  This adds a ton of flavor to the meat.  

We used cabbage instead of my usual preference of rice or noodles to keep the recipe healthier and gluten free.  A quick dip in boiling water milds the flavor and creates a chewy, tender texture making it perfect as a noodle substitute.  

I used a fresno chile but you could use a long green chile, hot cherry or jalapeno.   If you use anything spicier, think about decreasing the sambal oelek which is a popular spicy chile paste, found in grocery stores near the siracha.  

Serves 4.

Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage Noodles

3 tablespoons high heat oil

2 lbs stew beef chunks, 2 " pieces

s + p

4 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, chopped

2" ginger root, peeled, chopped

1 fresno chile, seeded, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped, divided

2 star anise pods

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons sambal oelek

3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

32 oz beef stock

1 lb daikon radish, peeled, halved lengthwise, 1/2" slices

8oz carrots, peeled, 1 1/2" slices

lime juice, to taste

1/2 head cabbage, cored, thinly sliced

Heat a heavy pot, like a dutch oven, over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Add to pot in 3 or 4 batches, careful not to over crowd the pan or the meat will not brown, only steam.  Brown meat well on all sides.  Transfer to plate, set aside.  

Add a splash more oil to the pot, if needed.  Add lemongrass, ginger, chile, garlic, 1/4 of the onion, star anise and cinnamon.  Cook until lightly browned, stirring often to avoid burning.  Add browned beef and all juices, tomato paste, sambal oelek, tamari, fish sauce and beef stock plus 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer.  Let simmer, covered, 2 1/2 hours.  

Remove beef.  Strain cooking liquid.  Discard solids.  Return beef and stained liquid to pot.  Add daikon, carrots and remaining 3/4 of onion.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer partially covered until daikon is tender, about 45 minutes.  

While stew is simmering, blanche cabbage:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add cabbage.  Cook about 1 minute or until cabbage is crisp tender.  Strain.  When stew is done, ladle over portions of cabbage.