BEEF/BROCCOLI STIR-FRY (CHINESE)
Fresh broccoli from the garden and a bit of leftover flank steak in the freezer prompted a straightforward stir-fry tonight. One of the best things about faux Chinese, you can almost always find enough ingredients in the refrigerator to make a meal for two!
Start with the basics: 4 to 6 ounces of flank steak, sliced into chopsticks- size thin pieces across the grain. One large carrot, peeled and sliced thin. One large rib of celery, sliced thin. One broccoli "tree," cut into bite-size florets. One-half sweet onion, whacked into bite-size squares.
Then the flavoring mix: 1 tablespoon black-bean sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon dark-brown sugar. Set aside separately two "coins" of fresh ginger and two smashed garlic cloves.
The sauce mix: 1/2 cup chicken broth with one teaspoon dark soy sauce and one teaspoon sesame oil stirred in. Set aside separately one teaspoon cornstarch mixed with just enough water to dissolve it.
The stir-fry: Heat wok to sizzling, then pour in just enough peanut oil to coat the bottom. When it's almost smoking, throw in the ginger and garlic cloves, and stir quickly until they're very fragrant. Throw in the onion squares and stir-fry briefly, then add the celery and carrot slices and continue stir-frying until they start to cook up and brown a little around the edges. Add the flank steak and stir just until it loses its raw, red color. Stir in the seasoning mix and stir-fry briefly until it's well mixed. Pour in the sauce mix (but not the cornstarch); turn down heat to low, add the broccoli florets and cover. Let the broccoli steam for three or four minutes or until just bright-green and crisp-tender. Remove the lid, turn the heat back up to medium, and stir in the cornstarch. Continue heating, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Serve with steamed rice. A meal in itself! (It went great with the Fess Parker Syrah and would do credit to any Rhone red -- or a Porter or Stout or Belgian Abbey Ale.