Quick, fast and in a hurry
March 2, 2017
Where was this dish when I was hustling to feed kids in between getting off work and heading to the ballpark or the band concert?
Well, for one thing, I didn’t know how to cook anything Asian, faux or otherwise, when they were little. For another, they’d have probably looked at me suspiciously. As would my husband.
But beef and broccoli is about the easiest thing you can throw together for a quick, healthy meal. In fact, if you do your prep in advance and cook your rice, you can have this on the table in 15 minutes. (If you do your prep just before your cook, it’ll probably take you 30. Which is OK, because it’ll take that long for your rice to cook, if you do not, as I did, have some cooked rice frozen.)
In any event, By All Means do ALL your prep before you start cooking. Hear me on this. If you do not do so, you Will Regret It, because like all Asian food, once the groceries start hitting the hot pan, it goes fast and it needs your attention.
So. Here’s what you do.
- Put your rice on to cook.
- Dice an onion. Mince some ginger, if you don’t cheat like me and use the prepared puree in a tube. Ditto garlic.
- Cut the florets off some crowns of broccoli
- Drain a can of sliced water chestnuts. If you weren’t paying attention and bought whole ones, curse, and slice them.
- Slice about 12 ounces of mushrooms. I forgot this, and left them out.
- Take about half a pound of good steak — I used a top sirloin — trim all the fat you can off it, and cut it across the grain as thinly as you can.
- Get out your soy sauce, your your Chingkiang black vinegar, your sesame oil, and some brown sugar. Mix about 1/3 cup soy sauce, a couple tablespoons of vinegar, several good dashes of sesame oil, and about two tablespoons of the sugar. Whisk it all together in a bowl. Put the steak in it and set aside to marinate a few minutes or an hour
- If you are of a notion to add other veggies, like snow peas, diced peppers or carrots, get them ready. Check the time on your rice to be certain you are not getting the beef and broccoli done before the rice is.
You are now ready to cook. Or sit down and have an adult beverage, and come back and cook 15 minutes before you’re ready to eat.
Get some peanut oil hot, on medium high heat, in your big skillet, or wok, if you possess such a creature. Woks are handy for stir-fries because the sides are deeper and you don’t tend to toss stuff out over the edge when you’re stirring a little too enthusiastically. Start out with your onions, and saute them. You want them at least a little bit soft; I like mine pretty soft, but YMMV. When they get to that point, add the garlic and ginger, and saute until it smells good and fragrant. Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to shrink a bit. Grab the beef out of the marinade, squeeze some liquid out of it, and dump it in; spread it out so it all gets some contact with the hot skillet. Cook a minute or two, then stir so it can get brown all over.
Now add your broccoli florets. Stir and toss until they just barely start to wilt; you want crunchy broccoli. Pour in the remaining marinade, add some water if you want some extra juice to put over your rice, and boom, you’re ready.
And you didn’t even have time to consume another adult beverage while you were cooking.
You can modify this dish and serve it with thin-sliced chicken or pork. I might, in that instance, cut back a bit on the soy sauce, swap the Chingkiang vinegar for plain rice vinegar, add some mirin , and maybe a good shot or two of sweet chili sauce. You can add about any relatively hard vegetable you want; I’ve contemplated trying it with butternut squash, but that’s an awful lot of trouble to go to for an easy meal. Sweet potato might be good, as would most any green legume, either shelled or in the pod. I have used asparagus. I have used leftover asparagus, in fact, just throwing it in at the very last minute so it doesn’t cook any more; ditto leftover green peas or sauteed green beans.
You could, in fact, use leftover steak if you, like me, often have problems getting through a full steakhouse portion, and get a to-go box, because you’re NOT letting it go to waste. Again, toss it in at the last minute, just long enough to get hot.
A quick dinner, and you get to use up leftovers and clean out your fridge. What’s not to love? BTW, in regard to leftovers — if you are like me and can either make not enough or entirely too much rice, portion your leftover rice into plastic baggies, squeeze out the excess air, and freeze. It nukes in a covered bowl, about five minutes from frozen, and tastes like brand new. You’re welcome.
You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em give this a whirl next time you’re in a hurry for dinner. You won’t regret it.