“Beef and Broccoli”

Beef and broccoli, the old Americanized Chinese food takeout classic. Its never been bad but come on, its never been really good either – until now. We’ve got short ribs, an emulsified broccoli sauce and crispy fried rice to transform these familiar flavors into something that is far too good to be ordered by the pint, quart or reduced to a combination meal number.

Musical Pairing: Converge -All We Love We Leave Behind it was Decibel’s album of the year for 2012 and I think this dish is probably my best of the year as well.




For the Beef:
1.5 lbs Bone in Short Ribs
1 White Onion
1 Apple (peeled and cored)
1/4 C Soy Sauce
1 TBL Fish Sauce
1 C Beef Stock
1/2 TBL Sriracha
1″ Piece of Ginger
3 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 TBL Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 TSP Baking Soda
1/4 Piece of Star Anise
1/2 Tsp Coriander Seed
1 TBL Conola or other oil with a high smoke point

Combine all of the ingredients except the meat, oil, star anise and coriander seed in a blender and puree until you have a smooth sauce.

Pressure Cooking Instructions:
In a pressure cooker heat the oil over high heat and sear the ribs on all sides. Add the pureed sauce and scrape the bottom of the cooker to remove the fond, then lock the lid and pressure cook under high pressure for 45 minutes, starting the time as soon as you reach pressure. Check the ribs for tenderness, if they are not so tender that they can be shredded with a fork, bring the pressure cooker back up to high pressure and cook for an additional ten minutes.

Conventional Cooking Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. In a heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid (cast iron dutch ovens work the best), heat the oil over high heat and sear the ribs on all sides. Add the pureed sauce and scrape the bottom of the cooker to remove the fond. Cover and put in the oven on the center rack. Cook them for about 3 hours turing then every half hour – start checking the meat for tenderness at about 2 and half hours they should be tender enough to easily shred with a fork.

Once the ribs are cooked, I find its best to shred the meat with fork, discard the bones and inedible gristle cover in the sauce and let sit for two days in the fridge. You can eat them at once but this extended refrigerated rest time will make for juicier and more succulent meat.

Emulsified Broccoli Sauce
1 lb Broccoli  (stems and crowns)
1/2 a Diced Green Pepper
1/4 of a Diced White Onion
1 TBL Diced ginger
1 Clove Garlic
1 TBL Canola Oil
1 TSP Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 C Veg Stock
1 TBL Soy Sauce
1 TSP Sriracha
1/4 TSP Cayenne Pepper
1/4 TSP Salt
5 Sprigs Cilantro

Trim the broccoli florets from the stem and set aside – cut about 1 TBL worth of the dark green buds from the florets and set aside – we’ll use these as a garnish. Peel the outer layer of skin from the broccoli stem and cut into 1/4 thick peices – they can be as long as the stem itself, the length isn’t very important. In a small sauce pan arrange the cut broccoli stems in a criss cross pattern on the bottom of the pan and add enough water to almost cover the stems. Add the florets, cover and cook over high heat, start timing 5 minutes as soon as the water starts to boil. Check for tenderness with a fork, the fork should easily pierce the stems of the florets – if they are not cook until they are. Quickly transfer to a bowl of ice water to shock them, the stops the cooking and helps preserve the color.

While the broccoli is steaming, heat the conola oil in a frying pan over medium high heat and add the peppers and onion. Once the onions are translucent add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.

Strain the broccoli, add it along with the the sauteed vegetables and rest of ingredients EXCEPT the toasted sesame oil to a blender or food processor. Puree on high slowly drizzling the toasted sesame oil to help create an emulsion. Once smooth, taste and adjust salt content as needed (you can fine tune with some soy sauce – if you like it spicier you can add more sriracha).

Set aside.



The Rice
4″ Piece of Lemon Grass (If you cannot find this, you can skip it or substitute the zest from a 1/4 of a lime)
1/4 C Diced Onion
1 TBL Minced Garlic
2 TBL Canola Oil (divided)
1 TBL Minced Ginger
1 3/4 C Water
1 C Rice
3-4 TBL Corn Starch
2 Eggs

In a heavy pot that has a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion until translucent then add the garlic and ginger and saute for another minute. Take the lemon grass and hit it with the dull side of you knife a few times to help release the oils and it and the rice to the pot and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until the rice is a little toasted. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to low. Cook undisturbed for 10 minutes and start checking the rice. It should be tender but not mushy.

Spread the rice out into a tray and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Whisk the eggs and heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.

Combine the eggs, corn starch and cooled rice in a mixing bowl. Grab a handful and flatten it out in a sheet or just get it kind of flat and carefully lay it into the hot oil – be careful not to splash yourself with the oil. Then quickly use a spatula to flatten the rice out even further, you’re looking for 1/4″ – 1/8″ thick. The thinner it is the crispier it will be. Fry on each side for about 3 minutes or until golden and crispy.

To assemble:
Its best to put the cold beef and the braising liquid in a cover sauce pan or pot and heat over low heat while you are steaming your broccoli and making your rice.

To plate, put some of the braising liquid down on the plate then place the fired rice patty down. Layer some of the beef over that and spoon out some of broccoli sauce over the meat and sprinkle with the broccoli buds. Serve immediately so the rice stays crispy!

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