Beef & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Beef and Broccoli
I always come to my blog thinking I have already posted this recipe, only to find that I never have, and that surprises me. So, tonight’s the night. This recipe is one of my favorite dinners. It’s the first one that comes to mind when I have broccoli on hand, and my husband and I always surprise ourselves by how much broccoli we can eat when we make it! I also have tried cheaper cuts of beef, but getting the flank steak makes all the difference–it just works perfectly. This makes one of the most perfect weeknight dinners we know. The recipe comes from The Best International Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

Beef & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

1 T. rice cooking wine or dry sherry
2 T. low-sodium chicken broth
5 T. oyster sauce
2 T. light brown sugar
1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 t. cornstarch

2 t. soy sauce
2 t. Chinese rice cooking wine or dry sherry
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then sliced across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
6 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced (about 1 T.)
1 t. peanut oil or vegetable oil, plus extra for cooking
1 1/4 lbs. broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into matchsticks
1/3 c. water
3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2-inch thick on diagonal, optional

In a liquid measure or small bowl, combine rice wine vinegar, chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch for the sauce. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beef, soy sauce, and the 2 t. rice wine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.

In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon peanut oil. Set aside.

Heat 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot and rippling. Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Don’t overcook the meat – cook until just barely cooked through so the meat stays tender. Transfer beef to a medium bowl and cover with a lid and tin foil. Heat another 1-2 teaspoons peanut oil in the skillet and repeat with remaining beef.

Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; heat until rippling and hot. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove the lid, add the bell pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger mixture. Cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Stir the mixture into the vegetables. Add the beef back to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

Moussaka

When Jason and I had been married for about 8 months, eggplant was in season, and I had a hankering for moussaka, my mom’s favorite dish at our local Greek restaurant when I was growing up.  I found a few recipes online, and made them into this one.  Jason was pretty skeptical about a dish that featured eggplant, but he loved it and could have polished off a whole pan all by himself if I had let him.

I got a couple of eggplant at the farmer’s market on Saturday, and decided to resurrect my moussaka for Sunday dinner.  Yum!

Moussaka

1-2 Eggplant (1-1 1/4 pound)
1 lb Ground Turkey or Ground Beef
1 can (14.5 oz) No Salt Added Tomato Sauce
1 can (14.5 oz) No Salt Added Diced TOmatoes
1 C. Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 C. Red Wine or Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 C. Flour
1 C. Milk
2 T. Parmesan Cheese
1/2 C. Feta Cheese, crumbled
2 t. Cinnamon
8 Kalamata Olives , chopped

Slice eggplant very thinly.  Salt both sides of eggplant slices and lay on cookie sheet to sweat for 20-30 minutes.  I usually put them on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet so the liquid falls away from the eggplant.  This will prevent the eggplant from being spongy after it is cooked (which will absolutely ruin an eggplant dish for me).

Brown ground turkey/beef with onion and garlic. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and red wine. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped olives.

Layer eggplant, then meat mixture in 13 x 9 pan, ending with meat mixture. You will probably have 2 layers of each.

Add milk to a saucepan on medium heat. Slowly stir in flour a little at a time until sauce thickens. Add feta cheese, parmesan cheese and cinnamon. Stir until well blended.

Pour white sauce over the meat and eggplant.  Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and cook for 30 more minutes.

Roasted Beef & Root Vegetables (Crock Pot)

This was the second meal I made this past weekend as we were finishing up moving in.  Since it’s in the crock pot, it’s perfect for not heating up the kitchen in the summer, but the hearty flavor and root vegetables would make it a great fall or winter dish too.

I had beets and potatoes on hand.  Carrots, turnips or anything that grows underground would also work well.

Roasted Beef & Root Vegetables

1 – 1 1/2 pounds of stew beef
2 onions, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
10-15 small red potatoes, chopped in eighths
10 small beets, quartered (or more.  I love beets, but my Farm Share usually has a limit on how many I can take)
16 oz can unsalted diced tomatoes
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1/4 C. red wine
1/2 – 1 T. Kosher salt
2 t. pepper
handful of fresh dill (or my substitute when my dill plant is looking puny (it did not take well to the new house), a tablespoon or so of McCormick’s salt-free “It’s a Dilly” seasoning*)

Mix everything together and cook on low for 8 hours.  Smells and tastes divine!  In fact, my husband Jason declared it was the best crock pot meal I’ve made.

*which I just discovered was discontinued.  Shame.  It’s tasty.  Well, any sort of dill-based seasoning should work, if you don’t have fresh dill.