Saturday, 9 June 2012

Korean Beef with Cauli-Couscous

I was going through my old cookbooks, trying to "thin the heard" and I came upon this recipe that I used to cook for my kids.  I just couldn't throw this one out, so I tore out the pages and threw the rest of the book out.  I do that.  Alot.  I have a binder full of torn pages containing recipes of all sorts, just waiting for the day that I feel inspired and confident enough to translate them into something more primally appropriate.  I'm not exactly an "intuitive" cook--I need the idea of a recipe as a jumping point to get started.  So I collect these ideas and I hoard them.  A friend once called me a recipe whore because I always seem to collect these recipes, but I never actually get around to cooking 90% of them.  At least not the dessert recipes, because I'd weigh 300 lbs if I did.

So anyways, the original recipe called for thin strips of fast-fry steak, something I could never cook right and have it still be tender.  But what if I used ground beef?  Less expensive, tender....  A few tweaks to make it more primally-acceptable...  And this is the result.  It has a slightly sweet, but mild flavour and it pulls together in no time (something I MUST insist on).  Despite the addition of hot pepper flakes, this dish is not hot at all and will not alarm small children's taste buds....  S'alright--I added sriracha sauce after the photo anyways, because I ALWAYS do that.

Now for the rice--who doesn't want a new way to cook rice?!  If you are at all like me, you cook mashed cauli, make cauli rice and put cauliflower into just about everything (we buy 3-4 heads of cauliflower per week).  But really, any other veggie in this recipe might overwhelm the delicate flavour, so a new cauli idea was needed.  I've roasted cauliflower before, whole florets, and loved it (not so much roasted broccoli).  So why not shred them before roasting?  The shredded cauli takes on a nutty flavour as it roasts in the oven, even more so since I tossed my cauli with sesame seed oil first.  I never liked real couscous, but this cauli-couscous I really liked.  Easy.  So here it is:

Serves approx. 5
Ready in 1/2 hour or less

(For the Beef)

2 lbs ground beef*
5-6 green onions (scallions)
5 cloves minced fresh garlic
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup beef stock
4 tbsp soy sauce** + 1/8 cup water
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp tapioca
3 scoops stevia powder (equiv of 3 tsp sugar)

(For the cauliflower)

1 head cauliflower
1 tbsp sesame oil

sesame seeds, for garnish


First, prep everything; shred your cauli in a food processor with the grating tool.  Move it to a big bowl and toss it with the sesame oil.  In a separate, small bowl, mix your soy sauce, beef stock, honey, stevia and sesame seeds, set aside.  Chop your green onions.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

Spread cauli between 2 cookie sheets and bake 10 minutes.  Stir.  Return to oven and cook for another 5 minutes, until browning in places.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add beef and cook, stirring, until no longer pink.  Add garlic and pepper, cooking for another minute until fragrant.  Add the bowl of soy sauce and whatnot you already mixed up.  Bring to boil.  In that now-empty small bowl, mix your tapioca starch with an equal bit of water to dissolve.  Throw your green onions into the skillet, then while stirring, add the tapioca and allow to thicken for a few seconds.  Remove from heat. 

Taste and adjust for sweetness. 

Serve over cauli-couscous and garnish with extra sesame seeds. 

*if you choose to use beef strips, slice your meat across the grain diagonally into 2-inch strips.  Cook steak with garlic and pepper for scant 2 minutes, allowing it to remain slightly pink.  Remove from heat before adding sauce to skillet, continue with recipe above... Add meat back in at end.  Do not overcook it.

**I hear that coconut aminos is slightly sweeter than soy sauce, that it is not a perfect substitute, but in this recipe, the sweetness might actually come through very nice.  Thought I do not own coconut aminos, if I can get my hands on some, I will definitely try to sub it in this recipe and see how it goes.

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