Thursday, September 3, 2009

Orange Beef and Broccoli

Well, the Darling Devoted Husband officially approved of the butternut squash pasta. He said the bacon could have been cooked longer, which is strange, since mine was quite crispy and in fact I worried while cooking that I had burnt it, so I'm not sure what the deal is there. But even though he called it "interesting" and "different" (not usually compliments in his book), he also said he liked it, so huzzah!

The DDH also approved of tonight's meal: orange beef and broccoli. I warned him in advance he'd have to cut the beef into smaller pieces, because it looked like the pieces were smaller when frozen, and I didn't realize how large they were until after they were cooking and it was too late. And that was his only criticism, which is quite an accomplishment!

I took a pound of stew meat and cooked it up with a little oil, salt, and pepper:

Meanwhile, I set some water on to boil for rice:

After the beef was cooked, I drained it and set it aside:

For the sauce, I cooked some garlic in oil:

then added a little flour to thicken it, whisking to get rid of the lumps:

To this I added the zest of half an orange, the juice of said orange, a sort-of teriyaki sauce:

soy sauce, brown sugar, and white sugar. Stirred these all into the pan:

let them cook down a little, then tossed in some frozen broccoli:

and covered the pan and let it simmer until the broccoli was heated through. Tossed the beef back in:

 and ta-da! orange broccoli and beef over rice:

I didn't think the orange flavor would come through as strongly as it did, but it was clearly there without being overwhelming. With all the sugar, it's not exactly health food, but the broccoli helps. It took maybe 45 minutes or an hour from prep (which included defrosting the beef) to finish.

The sort-of teriyaki sauce I used was an interesting improvisation. I was looking up recipes for teriyaki sauce, since I don't keep it on hand, and found one that was just equal parts soy sauce and mirin, with a dash of sesame oil. Soy sauce I have in plenty, and I even had some sesame oil, but no mirin. I did, however, have some old white zinfandel wine hanging out in the back of the fridge, and since it's a sweet wine like (though not as sweet as, and obviously not rice wine like) mirin, I thought I'd give that a try. It worked wonderfully, luckily. I've had some bad luck with super-salty, over soy-sauced Chinese-style recipes lately, mostly because I tend to just use more soy sauce instead of some of the sauces (like teriyaki and oyster) the recipes called for, so I was glad to find this easy substitute. It cut the saltiness of the soy sauce and complemented the orange tang of the dish. Huzzah!

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