Recipes for the week
My favorite stir-fry, plus udon soup and pearl couscous! 🌞
Happy Sunday! Have you already figured out what you want to cook this week? If not, this email is for you. I have three new recipes that I think you’ll just love.
Before we go into the recipes, let’s take a TureenTour™️ because I can finally (and happily!) tell you I got my tureens in the mail! I went with the corn tureen and the goose tureen. Okay, and a cauliflower one that I haven’t unpacked yet. I will definitely be serving corn chowder and chicken enchilada soup in the corn tureen. I haven’t decided what to serve in the goose one yet!
Look how pretty they are!
Okay, anyway…on to the recipes! Here’s the gist of each before I get into how to make them.
From left to right: Lemongrass Beef Stir-Fry | Creamy Dijon Chicken and Pearl Couscous | Lemongrass Dashi Udon
Lemongrass Beef Stir-Fry:
This was so ridiculously good. It uses a slightly modified technique of velveting. Velveting is a method used in Chinese cooking that helps preserve the moisture of meat and seafood. It involves adding cornstarch and egg whites to the marinade and then briefly dunking the meat or seafood into simmering water or oil. The egg whites and cornstarch act as a barrier around the protein, meaning it won’t dry out when you stir-fry it, and it’ll be extra tender and juicy.
For this beef stir-fry, I used skirt steak, so I skipped the egg whites and only added cornstarch to the marinade, and I did not add the meat to the hot oil or water. Don’t skip those steps if you want to follow the true velveting method. I found the starch alone enough to keep my skirt steak nice and juicy.
Like any stir-fry, the beauty is in its versatility. Don’t have steak? Swap in strips of chicken breast or thighs, or use shrimp instead. Try it with any vegetable you like; broccoli florets, sliced bok choy, sugar snap peas, or asparagus would all be delicious in this.
Creamy Dijon Chicken and Pearl Couscous:
I have made this recipe twice in the past week because it is just that good. It’s creamy, mustardy, and one of those meals you just want to sit and eat over the stovetop because it tastes so good that you can’t walk away from the stove to get plates.
This recipe is amenable to changes, depending on what you have in your pantry or crisper. If you want to keep it vegetarian, skip the first few steps and just add a can of chickpeas when you add the cream sauce to the pearl couscous. If you don’t have pearl couscous, white rice or orzo would work well with slight changes to cooking time. I used fresh dill and basil at the end of cooking to add a bit of herby brightness, but parsley, tarragon, or minced scallions would work well. Pick one or two herbs from that list and toss them in!
Lemongrass Dashi Udon
I am just in love with this dashi udon. If you’ve ever had miso soup, you’ve had dashi stock, and guess what? Dashi stock is easy as anything to make at home. But, if you don’t have time to make it from scratch, can’t find kombu or bonito flakes, or want to keep this meal vegetarian, I have a few substitution suggestions for you.
Dashi granules: You can buy dashi granules and stir them into warm water, giving you a wonderful dashi broth in a pinch!
Mushroom broth: Dashi stock is deeply savory and umami, so if you want a vegetarian version, mushrooms will match that umami energy. This shiitake broth would be a great place to start.
Miso broth: While dashi is the foundation for miso soup, my recipe doesn’t use miso paste. But you could use this miso soup broth, and the flavor would still be fantastic!
You’ll need 8 cups of liquid in total. In my version, I use 4 cups of homemade dashi broth and 4 cups of water. If you go with one of the choices above, simply use 8 cups of whatever method you choose.
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Sweet and Spicy Lemongrass Beef Stir-Fry
Cook time: 45 minutes
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 red Fresno chili pepper, trimmed and minced, or use a serrano pepper
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch or sweet potato starch
16 ounces skirt steak or flank steak
3 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
1 yellow onion, peeled and halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into wedges
8 ounces snow peas, tough string removed from both sides of the snow peas
1 red bell pepper, trimmed, seeded, and sliced into strips
1 teaspoon minced ginger
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked white rice
Fresh cilantro or minced scallions
Make the rice:
Before beginning, I recommend making a pot of rice first. Then, keep it warm as you prepare the stir-fry.
Prepare the marinade:
Gather all of the ingredients for the marinade except the cornstarch and beef in a large bowl. Stir until completely combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Add the cornstarch and stir until smooth. Set aside.
Pat the beef dry and cut (with the grain) into 4-inch long pieces to make it easier to slice into strips. Next, cut the resulting beef pieces against the grain into ½-inch wide strips. Cutting against the grain will yield the most tender beef, so be mindful of how you slice!
Add the beef to the bowl of marinade and toss to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Cook the vegetables:
Heat half the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add the onion, snow peas, and red bell pepper. Cook in batches if needed. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the pepper begins to char and the snow peas are bright green and tender, about 5–7 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from the skillet and transfer to a bowl.
Cook the beef:
Add the remaining oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, pour in the beef with all of the marinade. A splatter screen will help with the sputtering! Spread the beef into an even layer. Cook for 3–4 minutes until the beef begins to brown and the marinade is bubbling.
Crank the heat during the first 3 minutes and watch it closely to develop a sear on the beef without burning the marinade. Then, adjust the heat back to medium-high. It will look like the sauce separates as it cooks, but don’t worry!
After 3–4 minutes, flip the beef and continue cooking, often turning, for 2–4 minutes or until the beef is mostly cooked through.
Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir to develop a thick sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn off the heat and stir in the vegetables. Toss to coat.
Arrange the cooked white rice on a serving platter and pile the stir-fried beef and vegetables on top. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, lime wedges, and crispy shallots. Enjoy!
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