Well, I'm happy (and slightly ashamed) that after two and a half long months, I am finally getting around to sharing another recipe with you. January, February, and March in Maine are a quarter of the year with which I can never quite reconcile. My thought process during those months goes something like this:
- January - I will OWN this new year. I will keep up with my blog, I will cook healthy, and I will be a nice, always-dressed-in-real-pants wife. And I will be a stellar teacher.
- February - Well, I went to the gym twice. And what's so wrong with wearing leggings? It's not so bad to eat a whole loaf of garlic bread. When is vacation?
- March - Hot, cold, snow, sun. What are these feelings I am even having? This "Spring Forward" crap is baloney. I needed that hour of sleep. I've been robbed - now I'll never catch up. I'm grumpy. I guess I'll just go eat a block of cheese.
And so when April 1st finally came, I welcomed it with a newfound sense of hope (and a touch of caution....being an elementary teacher on April Fool's Day is scary). That day the sun peeped out, the air was uncharacteristically warm, and the peepers blasted us with a cacophany of chirping bliss. I finally decided I must get out of the rut I had fallen prey to. So I cooked a real meal that night instead of ordering pizza. And what better meal to please the masses and soothe the soul, I thought, than beef and broccoli, our all-time favorite take-out fake-out?
There has been one huge change in the Braley household since I blogged last that I suppose you should know about: Poblano. Pablo, for short. Our spicy spitfire of a puppy. My prime distractor. The ultimate snuggly bug. My sous chef and dropped-food taste-tester in the kitchen. And just so you know, the beef and broccoli was Pablo-approved.
So let's talk beef. And sauce. This stuff is just the best. Please, please, please, don't buy just any beef for this dish. I have tried to cop out, and it is wildly disappointing. Buy steak tips or flank steak. Tender and juicy, baby. Also, don't skimp on the marinating. I will be the first to admit that I sometimes.... gulp.... skip (ugh that was hard to say)... the marinating process. Because it takes time, and when it's the end of the day and we're hungry, WE'RE HUNGRY! But it's so worth it, and it's only an hour. And it makes a world of difference when the beef falls to delicious pieces on your tongue.
A little baking soda, corn starch, sugar, vegetable oil, water, and soy sauce is all it takes to turn this beef into tiny tastes of heaven.
Marinating the meat is the most time-consuming part of the whole process. While you're waiting, you can whip up the soy, sherry, and brown sugar sauce, cook the jasmine rice, and chop and saute the broccoli. And maybe enjoy a glass of wine and clean up the kitchen before dinner. As you can see, this beef and broccoli business ain't no one-pot-wonder. If you're anything like me, stuff's gonna get messy. That's part of the fun.
Pablo sniffing for quality.
Finally, finally, when the meat is marinated and ready, you will cook it briefly on the stove-top with the special sauce and, in that moment, something magical will happen. The beef will be transformed into savory bites of candied-salty tenderness. The brown sugar will hang in delightful little clumps to its edges and the sherry will seep into its crevices. You will mix the broccoli in with it and add more magic sauce, and then serve the whole lot over fragrant, sticky jasmine rice. And when you take a bite, you will think you've died and gone to take-out heaven.
I learned to use chopsticks just so I could enjoy this dish to its full potential. I love to savor the flavor. Ethan, on the other hand, prefers to use a fork so he can shovel it into his mouth quicker. And Pablo? He just eats off the floor.
No matter how you choose to eat it, I am positive that you will enjoy every single ooey, gooey bite.
Love well and eat well,
Recipe for Beef and Broccoli
Original recipe by Rainy Day Gal Ingredients (Makes 2-3 huge servings)
- 1 lb flank steak or steak tips, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 tbsp veggie oil
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (I ALWAYS use low-sodium - trust me, it will be salty enough)
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp veggie oil
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (low-sodium)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tbsp sherry (I always just use whatever red wine I have opened)
- Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, then add steak and stir until thoroughly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- When the steak is almost done marinating, heat 2 tbsp of veggie oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sear the broccoli, about 3 minutes, stirring often. (Cook according to how soft you would like yours - I like it on the crisper side). Transfer to another place.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- Heat 1 tbsp veggie oil over medium-high and add the marinated steak, pouring about half of the sauce mixture on top of it and mixing it in. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until just the insides of the beef are slightly pink. Remove from heat and stir in the broccoli and remainder of the sauce.
- Serve hot over jasmine rice.