Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bo Kho

For a few days last week, the weather was chilly enough to warrant making a big batch of beef stew. While there is nothing wrong with the traditional Irish beef stew or Beef Burgundy, something had me in an Asian mood. This is a basic braise, but with the subtraction of a few traditional ingredients and the addition of a couple Southeast Asian flavors. After the initial braise, strain the sauce and remove the meat. Then cover the meat with the sauce and cool overnight. The next day add in the blanched carrots and turnips and reheat.

This is the perfect dish to make halfway on a Sunday and then finish off on Monday night. Serve it with warm French bread to soak up the pungent, rich sauce.

My Bo Kho

1 pound beef stew meat
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery
1 stalk of lemongrass, diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1 leek, diced
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 tablespoon of red curry paste
4 cups chicken stock
Vegetable oil
Fish sauce
Juice of one lime
Bouquet garni - bay, coriander, allspice, and clove. I put them in one of those metal mesh loose tea holders - easier than tying or trying to fish out.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pat dry your beef. Season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil until just smoking. Sear the meat in batches. Add in handful of the carrots (reserve the rest for the next day), the leeks, celery, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. Stir to combine and let sweat for about five minutes or until soft. Add in curry paste and cook for another three minutes. Then deglaze with a quarter cup of vermouth. Once the vermouth has evaporated, add in the stock, lime juice, the seared meat, a good few dashes of fish sauce, and the bouquet garni. Bring to a boil. Cover and pop in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove the meat and place in a bowl. Strain the sauce into the bowl, cool, and refrigerate for at least six hours but preferably overnight. When ready to serve, blanch the reserved carrots and turnips in salted, boiling water until al dente. In a separate sauce pan, rewarm the braised meat and its sauce, and add in the carrots and turnips.

Serve in warm bowls with plenty of French bread and a crisp beer.

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