Japanese Beef Fondue

japanese beef fondueThis recipe is based on a Japanese dish called shabu-shabu, but I left out the kombu (dried kelp) and the tofu, then poked it here and pinched it there, so I can’t pretend that my version is even remotely authentic. But both recipes are built around poached beef. I’d almost always prefer to sauté, roast, or grill my meats, but this recipe is an exception to the rule. Here’s why: First you make a flavored broth, then you poach all the vegetables and meats in it, which creates an even richer broth. You end up with a fairly lean but enormously flavorful dish that smacks of comfort food. The wasabi cream is the perfect counterpoint. It is a fun dish for entertaining too. You can dust off the old fondue pot, put it right in the middle of the table, and let your guests take turns cooking their own dinner.

For the broth and vegetables:
7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
8 scallions, white and 1 inch of the green parts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
1 small napa cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
6 carrots, thinly sliced
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps sliced
1 1/2 pounds boneless shell or sirloin steak
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds, drained, and shocked in ice water

For the sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon prepared wasabi
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To make the broth, combine the stock, ginger, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Strain, discard the solids, and return the stock to the saucepan.

Keeping the heat at medium to medium-low, maintain a slow, steady simmer while preparing the dish. Add the cabbage and simmer for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large platter. Do the same for the carrots, peppers, and mushrooms, cooking the carrots and peppers for 3 minutes and the mushrooms for 2 minutes. Arrange each in a separate mound on the platter as they are cooked.

Place the beef in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until slightly stiff. This makes it easier to slice thinly. Cut the beef against the grain into paper-thin slices and arrange decoratively on a different platter. Add the peas to the platter.

To make the sauce, combine the sour cream, wasabi, chives, and mustard in a small bowl. Thin with water as desired. Stir well and season with salt and pepper.

Set the fondue pot in the middle of the table, fill it with the broth, and bring to a simmer. It is up to each of your guests, in turn, to finish cooking this dish. Diners choose the vegetables they want and place them in their empty soup bowls.

Then they take as much of the raw beef as they want and cook it in the fondue pot for 2 to 3 seconds. Next they add the vegetables selected, which should warm up in about 1 minute. Finally, using a slotted spoon, diners transfer their beef and vegetables from the fondue pot to their bowls and then ladle on some hot broth and a spoonful of the sauce.


Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 English cucumbers (1 1/4 lb total), halved crosswise

Bring vinegar and sugar to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then cool to room temperature. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil.

Cut cucumber lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick ribbons using a mandoline or other manual slicer. Toss cucumber with dressing and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cooks’ note: Do not let dressed cucumber salad stand more than 20 minutes before serving, or it will become soggy.


Turkey or Chicken Stock

I understand that most people are going to reach for a can of store bought chicken broth on a weeknight (and yes, let’s be honest, even on a weekend) but I am hoping that one weekend, when you have a little more time on your hands, you will pick up some chicken wings at the supermarket and make a batch of the homemade stuff.  Or, on one of those occasions when you are roasting either a chicken or turkey, you’ll take advantage at the gifts they come with -that bag containing the giblets and the neck (that you find inside the cavity) as well as the wings, and make a quick stock.

After you make your stock, remove the fat and boil the liquid down by at least one third to concentrate it. Let the stock cool and chill it or divide it among several re-sealable plastic bags and freeze it. It will keep for 3 days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. I love having homemade stock in the house – I consider it liquid gold.

Recipe for homemade stock can be found here: https://saramoulton.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-recipes-101/

Source for buying fresh wasabi: www.wasabia.com/

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Thanks to

Fairway for donating all the food | Chantal for the cookware | Le Creuset for the Dutch ovens | Wustoff for the knives | Boos for the cutting boards | Kitchen Aid for the appliances | Oxo for the small kitchen tools |

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