Monday, November 19, 2012

Lazy Woman's Red Cooked Beef

I eat a lot of vegetables and beans for conscience, health and because I love them. But I would not describe myself as a Vegetarian entirely. Sometimes in the Winter, I long for some succulent fatty braised Beef.

Red Cooked Pork Belly
I hate all the browning required in traditional braised Beef recipes. It is time consuming and it messes up the stove bigtime. I also possess a slow cooker which is an American invention I appreciate. So one day when I was busy tidying the hovel, listening to music and not feeling at all like doing any serious cooking, I did this good thing that my family likes a lot. I Red Cooked a Chuck Steak. Oh yummy.

Red Cooking is a Chinese culinary technique for braising/stewing. Wikipedia has an excellent description of classic Red Cooking. If you go there to learn more, please give $5.00 to their fund drive if you can spare it. Wikipedia is an excellent resource. 


Classic Red Cooking usually involves soy sauce and varied Chinese flavorings that I do not always have in the pantry. I always have soy sauce (chief ingredient in red cooking), garlic, molasses, and some form of vinegar or white wine. So I threw this nice looking Chuck Steak (larded with pieces of garlic) in the slow cooker on the lowest temperature and added 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons Vinegar and 1 tablespoon Molasses and went away for hours. I came back to delicious succulent brown braised Beef. 

Note: Chuck is the most flavorful of Beef cuts and it can be quite fatty. Fat equals flavor. I often cook this a day ahead, chill it in the refrigerator and remove the fat before serving. Feel free to double the "sauce" if your Chuck Steak is large. Just keep the same proportion of ingredients. And if you have a slice of fresh Ginger, throw it in the sauce. You can also add Sesame Oil (just a smidge as the flavor is very strong) toward the end of the cooking time if you have some. This Beef will perfectly good if you do not. 

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