Friday, April 10, 2009

Chinese Takeout From Your Own Kitchen

You know how sometimes a chef on a cooking show will say to you, completely stone faced, "You can make this dish faster than you can call in for takeout!" (Yes, Rachael Ray, I mean YOU.)

Normally, I want to pick up my TV and throw it across the room when I hear things like this, simply for the reason that yes, if you had a sous chef (or a team of them behind the scenes at the Food Network kitchen) doing all the chopping and assembling, then perhaps this could be kind of close to being true. You'd still have to clean up though, and there's no magic button for that.

I guess my point is, if you're really not in the mood to cook, nothing beats the luxury of picking up your phone and dialing your favorite tried and true takeout (or here in NY) delivery place. It's man's greatest achievement as far as I'm concerned.

That said, there is also something wonderful about having your own 'takeout' dishes you can make at home. Maybe not faster than it takes to call in a delivery order, but still pretty quick, and without the random but inevitable pitfalls of takeout (i.e. that annoying little voice in the back of your mind that tells you that meat in your Cashew chicken is in fact deep fried...the occasional underdone turkey burger...or even God forbid, the little black hair in your Spinach salad.)

This is one of those meals. You can use any cut of steak you like, but for me, you know which one I'm using - the grand petite fillet. Once seared, rolled in Hoisin sauce, and baked off, the meat becomes tender and slightly caramelized from the sweet sauce and reminds me of my favorite childhood Chinese takeout dish - pork spare ribs.

The vegetables are the perfect foil for the slightly sweet meat - super fresh tasting with a little kick from the fresh ginger and red pepper flakes. And while 3 garlic cloves may seem like a lot, I promise you they just cook down and blend in with all the other flavors - elevating them slightly but without taking the limelight, much like the most talented of supporting actors.

If you're on the low carb thing, just prepare the beef sans the hoisin sauce, maybe sprinkling over a little garlic powder with the salt and pepper before searing.

Hoisin Glazed Fillets with Ginger Garlic Vegetables

1 small baking sheet, covered in foil and sprayed with nonstick spray, for easier clean up
1 large rimmed skillet, to sear the beef and cook the vegetables in
cutting board for the vegetables
sharp knife
small bowl for holding the Hoisin sauce

2 fillet mignon steaks
tongs, for handling meat
salt and pepper
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce (you can eyeball this - no need to dirty a measuring cup)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup broccoli florets, frozen or fresh
10 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
pinch red pepper flakes
1 bunch fresh green onions, rinsed and cut into 1 inch pieces, green and white parts separated
1 small piece of fresh ginger, (about 1/2 inch), peeled and sliced into paper thin slices
1/2 cup vermouth or white wine

Preheat your oven to 375.

Meanwhile, season your fillets with salt and pepper. Heat up your large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, allow to heat through for 1 minute, then add your steaks. Cook for about 2 minutes per side (more for larger steaks) until seared and golden brown. Remove the pan from heat and using tongs, dunk the steaks in the Hoisin sauce one at a time. Be sure to coat them on all side, then transfer the steaks to your awaiting baking sheet.

Put in the oven for 6-8 minutes for medium rare. Once it's cooked to your liking, you can shut the heat off, leaving the steaks inside. This will keep them warm while you finish the vegetables.

Using the same pan, add the rest of the olive oil and bring back up to medium heat. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, white parts of the green onions, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have begun to soften and cook down - about 7 minutes. Add the white wine and the green pieces of the green onions, and raise the heat slightly allowing the liquid to simmer. Cook until the majority of the liquid has evaporate. Taste for salt and serve as a bed for the steak.

No comments: