SWEET AND SOUR BEEF WITH SHIITAKES AND BELL PEPPER

SERVES 4
TOTAL TIME
50 minutes
¾ cup pineapple juice, divided
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus extra for seasoning
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon Asian chili-garlic sauce
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound top sirloin steak, trimmed
2 scallions, sliced thin on bias
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Imagine making a beef stir-fry with a sweet and sour sauce without even using a skillet. Here the blender does all the work with a little assist from the microwave to soften the vegetables. So, first we added the sauce ingredients to the blender, a combination of pineapple juice, brown sugar, and ketchup for sweetness, and rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and Asian chili-garlic sauce for the balancing Asian flavors and punch. To heat and blend this mixture we chose the chunky soup function, stopping it 10 minutes before the cycle had completed so we could add thinly sliced sirloin steak and the microwaved vegetables. Given the bulk of the steak and vegetables we found it necessary to pause the function a few times to give the mixture a stir so the steak could cook through. And we also paused it toward the end to add a thickening slurry made with cornstarch and a little extra pineapple juice. Once done, we were left with a complex sauce and an appealing ratio of delicious steak to perfectly cooked vegetables, ready to serve over rice for a complete meal. No one will ever guess this Chinese classic was made so easily and successfully in a blender. To make the steak easier to slice thin, freeze it for 15 minutes.
1. Add ½ cup pineapple juice, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and chili-garlic sauce to Ace blender. Lock lid in place, then select soup program 1 (for chunky soups). Meanwhile, microwave mushrooms, bell pepper, and oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. In separate bowl, whisk remaining ¼ cup pineapple juice and cornstarch together; set aside.
2. Slice steak ⅛-inch thick against grain on bias, then cut slices into rough 2-inch pieces. Pause program 10 minutes before it has completed. Carefully remove lid and stir in steak and vegetables. Return lid and replace lid cap with food tamper. Resume program, using tamper as needed to stir ingredients.
3. Pause program 2 minutes before it has completed. Stir in cornstarch mixture, return lid, and resume program. Once program has completed, season with extra soy sauce to taste. Sprinkle individual portions with scallions before serving.

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