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.  

 

 

 

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

I'm nuts for these!  (Haha - sorry.)  Sweet, spicy, salty.  The perfect snack that couldn't be easier and quicker to make.  Just toss the nuts with the marinade ingredients, pop them in the oven and try not to eat the entire tray while they're cooling.  For only a hint of spice, use 3 teaspoons of siracha.  

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

2 tablespoons honey

5 teaspoons siracha

1 teaspoon grape seed oil

1 teaspoon tamari

10 oz raw cashews

salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together honey, siracha, oil and tamari.  Toss with cashews until evenly coated.  Arrange on a parchment paper or silpat lined tray.  Roast 5 minutes, stir nuts, roast 5 minutes more.  Remove from oven and cool.  

 

Healthy Kale + White Bean Soup

I know, I know.  My last post was a soup too.  I don't know about you, but I really enjoyed eating everything and anything I wanted to over the holidays.  But it's 2015 and time to get back to healthier habits.   On my agenda for January are getting back to the gym, maybe a run here or there, avoiding alcohol and treats that are obviously bad for me (sorry french fries), getting enough rest, generally being a healthy person and eating lots and lots of vegetables.  And I'm starting with this soup!  I served it over red quinoa and it was great.  Nothing like a little kale and quinoa.  

Makes about 8 servings.  

Kale + White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 bulb fennel, quartered, sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped

leaves of several sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

2 quarts vegetable stock

28 oz tim cannellini beans 

4 cups chopped kale (curly or lacinato)

S + p, to taste

lemon juice, to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Add fennel, tomato, thyme and chile powder, cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Stir in beans and kale.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, additional chile powder and lemon juice.  (We used a whole lemon.)  

 

 

Basic Indian Curry

I love curry when it's cold.  Warm, aromatic and full of flavorful spices:  it really is the best thing.  Here's a simple one you can whip up for a delicious vegetarian dinner on the fly.  

Garam masala is an indian spice blend.  I use one from Simply Organics brand.  It's a blend of peppers, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves...  

Ghee is a nutty, aromatic clarified butter commonly used in indian cooking.  It's great for cooking because of its high smoke point and buttery taste.  It can be found in well stocked grocery stores or substituted with a high heat oil.  

serves 2.

Basic Indian Curry

 bit of ghee or splash high heat oil, like grape seed, safflower, canola

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, peeled, minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/4 cup water

1 14 oz tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

10 oz diced, canned tomatoes

salt, to taste

lime juice, to taste

Heat a saute pan over medium to medium high heat.  Add oil.  Add onion and saute until browned.  Add ginger, garlic, toasted cumin seeds and garam masala.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add water and cook off.  Add chickpeas and tomatoes.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Season with salt and lime before serving.