Friday, April 1, 2011

Mongolian Beef

Too bad that's a terrible picture of a great meal.  This is another one of my family's favorite meals.  The sauce is rich and thick and the meat is tender and flavorful.  This is supposed to be a knock off of PF Chang's Mongolian Beef.  Once again, I've never had PF Chang's version, but I can tell you that this is worth making.

Originally, this recipe called for sliced flank steak.  Have you seen the price of flank steak?  No way could that fit in my budget!  And I'm all about good food on a tight budget!  So I perused the grocery store ads and found a nice beef roast on sale for $1.78 a pound.  I had the butcher slice it thin and I was ready to go.

This dish comes together really fast.  Cooking the meat takes the longest, but that can be done ahead of time to get dinner on the table even faster.  Just be sure not to crowd the meat in the skillet.  You want it to get nice and browned, so cook it in batches.

Mongolian Beef
Serves 6

4 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. ginger, minced
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 c. low sodium soy sauce
1 c. water
1 c. brown sugar (packed)
2 c. vegetable oil
2 lbs. thinly sliced beef roast
½ c. cornstarch
3 large green onions

Make the sauce by heating 4 tsp. vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens a little bit. Remove sauce from heat.

Dip the meat pieces into cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. Let the beef sit about 10 min. so the cornstarch sticks. As the beef sits, heat up 1 c. oil in a wok (or skillet). Heat the oil over medium heat until its hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and saute for just 2 minutes, or until beef just begins to darken on the edges. Stir the meat around a little bit so that it cooks evenly.

After a few minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour most of the oil out of the skillet. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the sauce, cook for 1 minute while stirring and add green onions. Cook for 1 more minute. Now at this point you can either remove the beef with a slotted spoon or tongs and discard the sauce (this is what P.F. Chang's does) OR thicken the sauce with a cornstarch-water mixture to desired thickness and serve it over rice with the beef.  (The sauce is so good, its a shame to pour it off!)

Source:  Adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

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