Beef dishes that are delicious, inexpensive and quick to prepare sound like a myth, but Sue Willson scoured the world to come up with five recipes for a Gourmet Chef cooking class.
She demonstrated a Thai beef and peanut dip, a southwestern U.S. steak, and Korean beef bulgogi as well as a Greek-inspired steak and a salad of lemongrass and rice noodles.
Willson noted that beef, a nutritional bargain both for flavor and health, can be stretched. "You don't need to serve a 16-ounce steak to feed people well," she said.
Several dishes she demonstrated included cutting meat very thin or asking a butcher to do that job. She said she usually asks the butcher to thinly cut enough meat for several meals. After she marinates it, she freezes enough for one meal in zip-close bags.
The Thai dip was teamed with sliced lettuce, cabbage and jicama as well as the more familiar cucumber and carrot slices. Serving the dip on flatbread is another good choice.
The chipotle steak salad is best when the meat is cooked on the grill, Willson said, but it can be cooked indoors, too.
The steak rub she showed works well on any beef, and any excess can be stored for later use. She suggests bringing steak to room temperature before cooking.
Willson serves the Korean bulgogi with rice and salad
She used maple syrup in the marinade given for the bulgogi, but any pancake syrup will do. She sometimes substitutes bell pepper, crunchy squash or other vegetables for water chestnuts. Excess marinade keeps up to a month in the refrigerator.
Thai Beef and Peanut Dip
8 ounces ground beef, 83 percent or leaner
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup water chestnuts, diced
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced green onion
Chopped peanuts for garnish
Chopped basil for garnish
Brown ground beef until cooked; drain excess fat. Return to pan over medium heat. Melt peanut butter; mix in coconut milk. Add curry powder, peanut butter/ coconut milk and seasonings to beef. Stir until bubbly. If mixture is too thick, add water. Add all vegetables. Turn off heat; mix well. Garnish with chopped nuts and herbs.
Serve hot or at room temperature with flatbread or sliced vegetables on the side.
Chipotle Steak Salad
4 3-ounce steaks, your choice
1 container alfalfa sprouts
Mixed green lettuces
1 green pepper, julienned
1 medium carrot, julienned
Olive oil for cooking
1/4 cup water or wine
1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder with jalapeos
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Chipotle Sour Cream Dressing
1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
8 ounces sour cream
1/4 cup water
Mix steak rub, a good all-purpose rib for any beef.
Dry steaks with paper towel. Sprinkle generous amount of rub on each side of steak. Cover with plastic wrap and mash rub into meat. Heat large skillet until hot. Drizzle olive oil on steaks and sear steaks on each side about 1 minute for rare or 2 to 3 minutes for medium rare. Flip and cook to desired doneness. Remove steaks to plates to rest.
De-glaze skillet with water or wine. Add veggies, stir, scraping drippings. Remove pan from heat. Whip ingredients for chipotle sour cream dressing together.
To serve, thinly slice steaks. Layer on top of lettuces and sprouts. Top with sauteed vegetables and drizzle with sour cream dressing.
Korean Beef Bulgogi
1-1/2 pound thinly sliced beef (chuck, sirloin roast)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced in 1 to 2 inch segments
8 Shiitake mushrooms, softened and julienned
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons syrup
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup rice wine
2 tablespoons sesame oil (Willson prefers the dark oil)
1 large pear or apple, grated
Mix marinade ingredients in a large bowl or jar. In large container, mix thinly sliced beef with marinade, making sure every layer of beef gets marinated. Drain out excess marinade; transfer beef to zip-close bag; allow to marinate in refrigerator at least two hours or overnight.
To cook, heat large skillet to high heat. Cook beef stir-fry style. Add onions and mushrooms. Transfer to large platter; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice.
The steak also may be grilled.