Chinese Braised Beef

It’s a new year for calendars, but also a new year for K and me. The start of this year marks 8 years together. If it wasn’t for him, I definitely would not attempt some of the recipes I do. Even when he thinks I am nuts or isn’t sure of a recipe, he still encourages me and eats the food. Even the failures. 🙂 Thanks, K, for your support in food and the rest of life (are there other parts? I guess the Fudgelet…haha…still food-related 😉 ).

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This is one of those recipes I wouldn’t have bothered with. Even though it’s actually really easy, it meant buying a new type of cut of meat, and using some new seasoning. And to be honest, I never would have owned hoisin sauce previously, but it is a staple in our refrigerator.

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I like that this recipe is mostly hands off. Dump some food in a pot, and let it slowly cook…lots of flavor, minimal effort. Shredding the meat is the most work, but it is still really fast because the meat is so tender.

Directions for Chinese Braised Beef

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 2.5 cups water, plus one Tablespoon
  • 1 packet (1 Tablespoon, plus 1.5 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 4 green onions, chopped (green parts cut on the bias, white parts set aside)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled, cut in half and smashed
  • 1.5 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • Red pepper flakes (as spicy as you like)
  • 3 pounds beef short ribs (boneless if you can find it, but it isn’t necessary), cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and prepare the oven racks as necessary to fit a Dutch oven. Meanwhile, pour the 2.5 cups water into the Dutch oven and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let it soften (about 5 minutes) while you gather your other ingredients. Then, place the pot over medium heat and stir for about 2-3 minutes as the gelatin dissolves.

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Then, add the wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, molasses, white parts of the green onions, garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, and red pepper flakes.

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Stir together, then add the beef.

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Bring to a simmer, then cover with the lid and place in the oven for about 2 hours, stirring halfway through. You want the beef to be falling apart and tender.

Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.

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Strain the liquid and separate the fat. Pour off the fat, then pour the remaining liquid back into the pot. Put it over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes to reduce the liquid down to 1 cup. Meanwhile, break the meat into smaller, bite-size pieces.

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If necessary, remove the bones (the meat should easily fall off of the bones). After the liquid has reduced, stir the cornstarch into the 1 Tablespoon of water, and add to the pot.

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After a minute when the liquid thickens, add the beef and most of the green onion (green parts) and cilantro. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes to warm the meat.

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Serve the meat over rice with the remaining green onion and cilantro on top.

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Directions for Chinese Braised Beef (without pictures)

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 2.5 cups water, plus one Tablespoon
  • 1 packet (1 Tablespoon, plus 1.5 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 4 green onions, chopped (green parts cut on the bias, white parts set aside)
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled, cut in half and smashed
  • 1.5 teaspoons five-spice powder
  • Red pepper flakes (as spicy as you like)
  • 3 pounds beef short ribs (boneless if you can find it, but it isn’t necessary), cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and prepare the oven racks as necessary to fit a Dutch oven. Meanwhile, pour the 2.5 cups water into the Dutch oven and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let it soften (about 5 minutes) while you gather your other ingredients. Then, place the pot over medium heat and stir for about 2-3 minutes as the gelatin dissolves. Then, add the wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, molasses, white parts of the green onions, garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir together, then add the beef. Bring to a simmer, then cover with the lid and place in the oven for about 2 hours, stirring halfway through. You want the beef to be falling apart and tender.

Remove the beef from the pot and set aside. Strain the liquid and separate the fat. Pour off the fat, then pour the remaining liquid back into the pot. Put it over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes to reduce the liquid down to 1 cup. Meanwhile, break the meat into smaller, bite-size pieces. If necessary, remove the bones (the meat should easily fall off of the bones). After the liquid has reduced, stir the cornstarch into the 1 Tablespoon of water, and add to the pot. After a minute when the liquid thickens, add the beef and most of the green onion (green parts) and cilantro. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes to warm the meat. Serve the meat over rice with the remaining green onion and cilantro on top.

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