Saturday, February 02, 2013

Make your own takeout.

So I was watching a little Food Network as I am wont to do on a Saturday. And once again, the Pioneer Woman seduced me with an easy, quick-fix recipe. Of course, she CLAIMED that it was a 16-minute meal, and it took me 45 minutes, but whatever. It's not nice to call a God-fearing rancher's wife and home school mom a liar, but if the pink cowboy boots fit...

But I will give her this: She helped me avoid reaching for a takeout menu tonight, and I saved money preparing an easy dish that was every bit as good as anything I could get at my local Chinese joint. Be advised that I made a lot of swap outs to use things I had on hand: flat-iron steak for flank, sugar snap peas for snow peas, regular Basmati rice for jasmine, rice wine vinegar for sherry, honey instead of brown sugar, plus I added a few extra seasonings. Sooooooo....basically I made a completely different dish! Tee hee. But I used PW's recipe as a very versatile template, and you should, too.

Beef and Snow/Sugar Snap Peas
(Source: adapted from Pioneer Woman)

1-1/2 pound flank steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thinly against the grain (I used flat-iron)
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sherry (I swapped out rice wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used honey)
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
(*I added a teaspoon of fish sauce, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, and a good squeeze of sriracha)
8 ounces, weight fresh snow peas, ends trimmed (I used sugar snaps)
5 whole scallions, cut into half-inch pieces on the diagonal
salt as needed (use sparingly)
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
Basmati or jasmine rice, cooked according to package

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, corn starch, and ginger (and fish sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha, if using). Pour half the liquid over the sliced meat in a bowl and toss with hands. Reserve the other half of the liquid. Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet (iron is best) or wok over high heat. Add snow or sugar snap peas and stir for 45 seconds (about three minutes for sugar snaps). Remove to a separate plate. Set aside.

Allow pan to get very hot again. With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl. Add half the scallions. Spread out meat as you add it to pan, but do not stir for a good minute. (You want the meat to get as brown as possible in as short amount a time as possible.) Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove to a clean plate.

Repeat with other half of meat, allowing pan to get very hot again first. After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas. Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Check seasonings and add salt only if it needs it. Mixture will thicken as it sits.

Serve immediately over hot rice.

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