Braising Contest Honorable Mentions 2007:
Carolina & Ron's Chinese Five Spices & Beer Beef Stew

(The nineteen amazing Honorable Mentions in our Braising Contest will each receive an Apartment Therapy T-Shirt. We are methodically and swiftly presenting them all to you with the winning photos and recipes. Another cold week here in NYC: braise on!)

Carolina & Ron's Chinese Five Spices & Beer Beef Stew

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Carolina & Ron's Chinese Five Spices & Beef Beef Stew Over Sesame Noodle Cake

"We love this recipe, so simple, very few ingredients and such a rich taste. The recipe is not original (ours) but we don't know who is the author. Try it, it is delicious!" - Carolina & Ron

1 teaspoon Chinese five spices (prepared or blend your own!)
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups beer
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 lbs boneless beef (or veal) cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch
olive oil as needed

Pat dry the beef and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and five spices. Brown over high heat in batches and reserve. Chop sticks are great for turning the meat chinks, and you don't pierce the meat.

Add a bit of oil as needed, turn down heat, and cook onion and garlic around 5 minutes.

Put the onion, garlic, browned meat, broth and beer in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven. Cook at low for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Blend corn starch with soy sauce, and stir the mix in the stew, cooking for 2 minutes (until it thickens a little). Serve over noodle cake. You may garnish with green onions and or toasted sesame seeds if you like.

Sesame Noodle Cake

4 oz Chinese egg noodles
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil (important, don't skip)

Cook the noodles in boiling water, drain, put back into pan, stir the soy sauce until absorbed.

In a large skillet heat oil, add noodles and pat them in an even layer. Cook 6-7 minutes (until bottom slightly brown), turn cake and brown the other side. Drizzle with sesame oil.

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.