My husband’s birthday was earlier this month and rather than go out for a family dinner, we decided to have dinner at home, in front of the television, so that we could watch the Washington Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the playoffs. Let’s just say that it was a great season with a heartbreaking finish, in overtime no less.
Anyway, for the birthday dinner I served a combination of beef and cheese fondue (because what else would you eat in front of the TV? And I’m sorry, I forgot to take pictures!) and ended up with some leftover filet mignon. If it hadn’t already been cubed, I probably wouldn’t have “wasted” it in a stir-fry for the following night’s meal but under the circumstances, I figured it was my best option.
So here is a basic recipe for a tasty stir-fry that could be adapted to use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I love half-moon onion wedges in my stir-fry and they would have been a nice addition to the broccoli and snap peas that were in my fridge. Red bell peppers, mushrooms and green beans would also work well.
The key to any stir fry is:
1. High heat.
3. Liquid added at the very end.
When making a stir-fry, be sure to have all of your ingredients fully prepped before you start heating your pan or wok. When ready, heat that baby until it’s smoking. Add your oil and heat it some more. Hot, hot, hot. Add your ingredients in batches (never crowding the pan) and remove each batch once it is cooked. No single element should take more than a minute to stir-fry. When cooking is complete, everything goes back into the pan and the sauce is added as a flavor component. If you add the sauce too early, you end up boiling or steaming your food as opposed to frying. So a quick finish with the liquid and to the plates it goes. That’s dinner in a flash of the pan–enjoy!
- 1 lb flank steak or if you feel like a delicious splurge, filet mignon (sliced very thin, against the grain)
- 2 Tbls cornstarch
- 1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 Tbls soy sauce
- 2 Tbls white wine
- 1 Tbls sesame oil
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1/2 lb snap peas, cut into thirds on the bias
- 4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces on the bias
- 1 Tbls toasted sesame seeds
- steamed rice, for serving
- In a medium bowl, toss the sliced beef with cornstarch to coat.
- In a small bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, wine, and sesame oil and set aside.
- Heat a wok or large sauce pan over high heat until very hot, then add the vegetable oil.
- When the oil starts to smoke, add half of the beef and stir constantly until it just begins to brown, about 15 seconds. The meat should still be pink in some places.
- Transfer the meat to a strainer set over a bowl (to drain excess oil).
- Bring the oil back up to temperature, and repeat with the remaining meat, adding it to the strainer with the first batch when done cooking.
- Add broccoli, snap peas and scallions to the wok and stir constantly for about 2 minutes.
- Add sesame seeds and stir for another minute.
- Add the broth mixture and bring to a simmer.
- Add the reserved meat and stir until just heated through, about 30 seconds. Be careful not to overcook or the meat will be tough.
- Serve right away with steamed rice.
- The beef will be easier to slice thin if it is cold. Pop it in the freezer for a bit if you are having a hard time getting clean slices.