Chinese Braised Beef & Mother's Day

Monday, May 11, 2015

Yesterday I spent some time cooking after a whirlwind grocery trip with Wes & Jordan. I roasted a chicken and tossed the carcass in a crock pot to make a beautiful stock for my matzo ball soup this week. The meat was carved way and will be made into sandwiches and chicken salad.

Then, during Wes's nap time I prepped the Chinese Braised Beef and chucked it into my grandmother's cast iron dutch oven.

My mom visited, some friends stopped by to pick up a lens (and some Simpson's mini-figs) and then it was time for Jordan's families Mother's day shin-dig. The Braised Beef wasn't quite done - so I wrapped it in a towel and brought it with us.

It was a huge hit! Perhaps it was the sugar high from my Mother-in-laws delicious banana pudding, but the family was uber enthusiastic about the awesome beef dish.

I probably should have added more salt (As always) but I thought it turned out really well.

Chinese Braised Beef
Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2014
Serves 6
1-1/2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
2-1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. molasses
3 scallions, white and green parts separated, green parts sliced thin on bias
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled, halved lengthwise, and crushed
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1-1/2 tsp. five-spice powder (2 TBS: 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground, 1 teaspoon ground star anise, 1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns, toasted)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 lbs. boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 4-inch lengths
1 tsp. corn starch
Sprinkle gelatin over 2-1/2 cups water in Dutch oven and let sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
Heat softened gelatin over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sherry, soy sauce, hoisin, molasses, scallion whites, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, and pepper flakes. Stir in beef and bring to a simmer. Remove pot from heat. Cover tightly with sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, then lid. Transfer to oven and cook until beef is tender, 2 to 2-1/2 hours, stirring halfway through cooking.
Using slotted spoon, transfer meat to a cutting board. Strain sauce through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator. Wipe out pot with paper towels. Let liquid settle for 5 minutes, then return defatted liquid to now-empty pot. Cook liquid over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 1 cup, 20 to 25 minutes.
While sauce reduces, using 2 forks, break beef into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Whisk cornstarch and remaining 1 Tbsp. water together in small bowl.
Reduce heat to medium-low, whisk cornstarch mixture into reduced sauce, and cook sauce is until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Return beef to sauce and stir to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is heated through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle scallion greens over top. Serve.


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