Sunday, October 10, 2010

Caramelized Minced Beef/Chicken

What does one do with half a pound of ground beef, half a pound of ground chicken, a lot of extra herbs from an upcoming French Fridays with Dorie, and a stack of cookbooks from the library?

Grab a cookbook and whip up lunch.

I had borrowed Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen and her Caramelized Minced Pork seemed to fit the bill. However, I had the aforementioned ground beef and chicken, so I used that instead. I also had a big bunch of Thai basil, which I wanted to add to the stir-fry, so I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit. The chicken and beef were also pretty lean and the recipe calls for the fat to brown in a stainless steel skillet. I decided to use a non-stick wok and add a little dark soy sauce for a darker color, as the cooked chicken/beef mixture was rather pale.

The first thing to do is make caramel sauce. I found Andrea's description to be spot-on, so watch the caramel closely for the color changes. Molten sugar needs to be handled carefully, so swirl it gently and add the water slowly.

I threw together the other things I had on hand and minced them all with my mini-prep Cuisinart. The finished product is perfect with rice.

I used broken rice, which we picked up on a whim. Broken rice comes out a little drier and with a great texture that's different from regular Jasmine rice.

Caramelized Minced Beef/Chicken
(Adapted from Caramelized Minced Pork from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen)

4 tablespoons oil (I used olive, the recipe calls for canola or another neutral oil)
1/2 yellow onion
2 inch piece of lemon grass
6 small garlic cloves (or 3 big ones)
1 inch knob of ginger
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 teaspoons caramel sauce
1 tablespoon kecap manis
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup Thai basil leaves, packed
2 scallions, chopped

Mince onion, lemon grass, garlic cloves, and ginger in food processor until finely diced. Heat oil in non-stick skillet. Add minced mixture and cook over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until everything is soft and fragrant. Add ground meats and cook until no longer pink. Add fish sauce, caramel sauce, kecap manis, and soy sauce. Cook over medium-high heat until all liquid has been reduced and the ground meat slightly dry. Season with salt (if any... fish sauce, kecap manis, and dark soy sauce are pretty salty) and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and add Thai basil leaves, tossing everything until the leaves wilt. Top with chopped scallions and serve with rice.

3 bites:

Dennis K. said...

Dude, that looks sooo good. I usually find recipes with a long list of ingredients a worthwhile effort in the end.

Medifast Coupon Codes said...

I have a real passion for books and want them all, but how silly I have never thought of going to the library to get cookbooks. Thanks for the great idea.

Coupons For Medifast said...

I tried your recipe and it turned out so good, thanks for the posting.

3 bites