Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Pepper Beef Stir-Fry with Leeks and Red Pepper

I've been on a major organising kick, new year and cleansing and all that - I've been finding a lot of my inspiration at iheartorganising.  There are a few local shops where I can find bins and baskets and anything else for corralling clutter and they are so close that I can just pop in whenever I need something.  Not wanting to stock up on anything I don't really need I've gone in everyday this week to pick up a few things here and there.  Today, after telling the woman I was organising mad and buying up all the containers in town (in case she recognised me from Monday and Tuesday's multiple trips, I felt I had to explain myself) she then complemented me on the bag I was carrying - it's got a very fun and bright pattern on it and easily recognisable but I haven't seen anyone with a similar one.  She then told me how she'd seen about 3 of them this week.  No lady - it was me.  I wasn't kidding when I said I'd been in the shop everyday this week! (several times).

So it's January and you're sticking to your "eating healthy" resolution - no?  I'm trying, I really am.  I mean, I didn't make that resolution but I try to eat healthy on a regular (somewhat regular) basis.  I love a stir-fry; a great way to get loads of veggies and protein and monitor the carbs.  I usually make my own sauce but it often only involves a splash of soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and a sprinkling of whatever spices I feel like at the time.  I picked up this cookbook by Hamlyn a few years ago in a discount bookstore (I've tried to find it online with no luck) and it has some great stir-fry ideas inside. 

My husband loves a beef stir-fry but I've always found the meat really chewy - turns out good steak prevents that.  It's a little on the pricey side but only a little is needed and it tastes so good.  And still cheaper than a restaurant!  This recipe called for fillet (which is the only steak we will eat - though not often) but I went for a sirloin because it was cheaper and would serve the same purpose.  It also called for mangetout and spring onions but the supermarket was out so I opted for leeks and spinach for the greens and they worked perfectly - even if the hubs thought the leeks were a "little waxy".

There were a few steps, and a lot of removing and returning things to the pot which I thought might make it less fast (yet still delicious) but it was quick.  First, I got all of my ingredients ready.

I then cooked the red pepper, leek, chilli and ginger until soft and then removed them from the pot.  I kept my cutting board nearby to return the veg (and later the meat) to and from the pot.  I gave it a quick rinse between chopping the meat and adding the cooked food to it but since it's beef I wouldn't be too worried.  If I had been cooking chicken I would have definitely used a fresh dish.

I dry fried the Szechuan pepper and then crushed it using a mortar and pestle.  I had said during the Big Kitchen Cleanout of 2012 (well one of I think 3!) that I would get rid of the mortar and pestle if I hadn't used in in 6 months.  I bought it at least 3 years ago, used it once (it didn't particularly do the job very well) and it sat in the cupboard for ages.  I was tempted to get rid of it last week when I did a charity shop drop off but I'm glad I didn't!

Then I fried the meat with the crushed pepper and once it was all browned I removed it from the pot.  Then came time for the sauce.  I mixed cornflour and water, added soy sauce and sugar and more water and then heated it to a boil.  I cooked the noodles at this point since they only take about 4 minutes.

I returned everything to the pot with the sauce, added the spinach and stir-fried until the spinach had wilted and everything was heated through and served over noodles. 

This served two but to make enough for 4 add more veg and twice the amount of meat but keep the sauce measurements the same.  Ours was really saucy because I followed the directions from the recipe in the book which served 4 but I cut the meat and veg down by half.

Pepper Beef Stir-Fry with Leeks and Red Pepper - adapted from Hamlyn Fast and Delicious serves 2

200 grams sirloin or fillet steak
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 green chilli, finely chopped and deseeded according to taste (I left them all in - super spicy!)
1 inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large handful of fresh spinach 
1 tablespoon Szechuan pepper 
1 tablespoon cornflour
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar

1. Place the steak in the freezer for about an hour, until just frozen and then slice thinly.

2. In a large wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.  Add chilli, ginger, leeks and red pepper and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until softened.  Remove the vegetables from the wok and set aside.  Wipe the pan dry with paper towel.

3. Dry fry the Szechuan pepper over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes, tossing gently.  Crush the fried pepper using a mortar and pestle.

4. Heat the rest of the oil in the wok and add the meat and pepper.  Fry on high for about 2 minutes or until all the meat has browned.  Remove and set aside with the vegetables.

5.  Boil a little water in a kettle.  While waiting for the water to boil, add the cornflour to a measuring jug and mix with 2 tablespoons of cold water.  Once blended, add 2 more tablespoons of cold water, soy sauce, and sugar.  Stir and add boiling water to make up to 300ml (1/2 pint).  Pour the sauce into the heated wok and bring to a boil stirring continuously until glossy and thickened.  Return the meat and vegetables to the pan and add the spinach.  Stir-fry until heated through and spinach has wilted.  Serve over rice, noodles or eat on it's own.

 Choose your eating irons!

This stir-fry had a great flavour - very spicy!  It was simple and took less than a half an hour from start to finish.  Excluding the hour it took to slightly freeze the steak, but it made it much easier to slice and I can't believe I hadn't done it before!

1 comment: