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Tuesday 11 February 2014

Sluttishly Savoury: Slow Cooked Chinese Beef

Being healthy in winter is hard. Being healthy on a Sunday is hard. Being healthy when you're brain has been tinkering with a unctuous Chinese beef recipe is pretty much impossible. This dish has seen many different guises in my kitchen, but this is my favourite so far. It's actually inspired by a beef short rib recipe by Donna Hay, but I wanted to make the most of the gorgeous sticky sauce rather than using a glaze. Slow cooking diced beef in a casserole is the perfect thing for a rainy evening.

The rich stock creates a rich and sticky sweet stew that deserves to be served with huge bowls of rice while it's pouring with rain outside. It's a heavy dish and rather erm... brown, so the citrus and chilli salad gives it a refreshing lift as well as a nice sprinkling of colour.

Slow cooked beef in oyster sauce and chilli salad (serves 4)
You'll need:
  • 1kg diced beef
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 2 red onions
  • 150ml oyster sauce
  • 150ml black Chinese vinegar (You'll find this in Asian supermarkets and, if you're lucky, the world food section of your supermarket. A bottle will last you for months.)
  • 120g brown sugar (it doesn't matter what kind, whichever bag you can find that doesn't require you to bash it into smithereens)
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 5cm piece of ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cloves of garlic
For the chilli salad:
  • 6 radishes
  • 1/3 cucumber
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 carrot
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp mirin
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 165C/325F/Gas Mark 3
  2. Brown the beef and throw in the mushrooms and onions. Season well.
  3. Make up the beef stock and add to your casserole dish with the rest of your casserole ingredients.
  4. Add the beef and veg and pop in the oven for a two hours.
  5. If your beef is tender (stop eating it) but your sauce is a little watery after this time, add some more sugar to make it stickier - you want the sauce to be really gooey - and pop back in the oven for half an hour. If there's a lot of liquid, finish it off on the hob. Heart attack sticky is the best kind of sticky.
  6. While it's in the oven, make up your salad. Finely slicing your veg into matchsticks (don't try and matchstick the radish, that's just silly). It's up to you if you de-seed the chilli. Throw in a splash of mirin and the lime juice 
  7. Serve the beef on top of piles of white and sprinkle the chilli salad on top.

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