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BUDGET-FRIENDLY FAMILY FARE

Recipe: Stir-fry an inexpensive cut of beef in this vegetable-rich one-pan family dinner

Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry.Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

The flavor of well-seasoned beef shines in this straightforward and flavorful vegetable-rich stir-fry. It's so tasty, even those who find it difficult to get excited about cabbage will polish their plates. And there's no need for an expensive cut of beef, when bottom round, eye of round, or London broil work best here, so go ahead and get that 3-pound cut on sale, and divide it into three pieces. Freeze two for another day. Thanks to a first step of massaging the meat with baking soda and water, the beef turns tender. Slice it into bite-sized pieces (about 1 1/2-inch squares) to provide plenty of crispy edges after cooking in a hot pan. Don't hold back on the seasonings, as the vegetables absorb much of their flavor. If you like the heat of fresh chiles, this dish is a good place to use them. And if you have chili crisp -- a spicy, salty, crunchy, oil-based condiment you can find in an Asian market -- add it to the garnishes. Serve with steamed white or brown rice. Leftovers are perfect the next day for second breakfast.

SAUCE

2tablespoons oyster sauce
1tablespoon soy sauce
1tablespoon sugar
¼cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1tablespoon cornstarch
1tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of chile flakes

1. In a bowl, stir together the oyster and soy sauces, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and sesame oil.

2. When the mixture is blended, stir in a generous pinch of chile flakes.

BEEF

2teaspoons baking soda
2tablespoons water
1pound beef bottom round or London broil, sliced 1/4-inch thick across the grain and into 1 1/2-inch squares
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½teaspoon Sichuan pepper (optional)
1tablespoon cornstarch
3tablespoons peanut oil
2cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
1piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 onion, cut into 1-inch dice
2 carrots, grated
½head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 jalapenos, sliced or 1 poblano, coarsely chopped
Handful fresh basil or cilantro leaves
1cup white or brown rice, cooked until tender

1. In a large bowl that will hold all the meat, mix the baking soda and water to blend them. Add the beef squares and mix well. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Tip the beef into a colander and rinse with cold water. Shake well to remove excess water; set aside to drain for 5 minutes. Add salt, black pepper, Sichuan pepper, if using, and cornstarch. Work with your hands or tongs to coat the beef all over.

3. Heat a large skillet, Dutch oven, or flameproof casserole. Add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil. Add the beef and spread it out in the pan. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until the meat is cooked through and you can see some browned edges. Transfer to a bowl.

4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil to the pan with the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the onion, carrots, cabbage, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cabbage is translucent and the vegetables are tender.

5. Return the beef to the pan and stir well until it is very hot again. Add the sauce and cook, stirring, until it comes to a boil. Let the sauce simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, black pepper, or Sichuan pepper, if you like. Let diners garnish their plates with fresh herbs. Serve with rice.

Caleb Barber

Serves 4

The flavor of well-seasoned beef shines in this straightforward and flavorful vegetable-rich stir-fry. It's so tasty, even those who find it difficult to get excited about cabbage will polish their plates. And there's no need for an expensive cut of beef, when bottom round, eye of round, or London broil work best here, so go ahead and get that 3-pound cut on sale, and divide it into three pieces. Freeze two for another day. Thanks to a first step of massaging the meat with baking soda and water, the beef turns tender. Slice it into bite-sized pieces (about 1 1/2-inch squares) to provide plenty of crispy edges after cooking in a hot pan. Don't hold back on the seasonings, as the vegetables absorb much of their flavor. If you like the heat of fresh chiles, this dish is a good place to use them. And if you have chili crisp -- a spicy, salty, crunchy, oil-based condiment you can find in an Asian market -- add it to the garnishes. Serve with steamed white or brown rice. Leftovers are perfect the next day for second breakfast.

SAUCE

2tablespoons oyster sauce
1tablespoon soy sauce
1tablespoon sugar
¼cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1tablespoon cornstarch
1tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Pinch of chile flakes

1. In a bowl, stir together the oyster and soy sauces, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and sesame oil.

2. When the mixture is blended, stir in a generous pinch of chile flakes.

BEEF

2teaspoons baking soda
2tablespoons water
1pound beef bottom round or London broil, sliced 1/4-inch thick across the grain and into 1 1/2-inch squares
Salt and black pepper, to taste
½teaspoon Sichuan pepper (optional)
1tablespoon cornstarch
3tablespoons peanut oil
2cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
1piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 onion, cut into 1-inch dice
2 carrots, grated
½head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 jalapenos, sliced or 1 poblano, coarsely chopped
Handful fresh basil or cilantro leaves
1cup white or brown rice, cooked until tender

1. In a large bowl that will hold all the meat, mix the baking soda and water to blend them. Add the beef squares and mix well. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Tip the beef into a colander and rinse with cold water. Shake well to remove excess water; set aside to drain for 5 minutes. Add salt, black pepper, Sichuan pepper, if using, and cornstarch. Work with your hands or tongs to coat the beef all over.

3. Heat a large skillet, Dutch oven, or flameproof casserole. Add 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil. Add the beef and spread it out in the pan. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until the meat is cooked through and you can see some browned edges. Transfer to a bowl.

4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil to the pan with the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the onion, carrots, cabbage, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cabbage is translucent and the vegetables are tender.

5. Return the beef to the pan and stir well until it is very hot again. Add the sauce and cook, stirring, until it comes to a boil. Let the sauce simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, black pepper, or Sichuan pepper, if you like. Let diners garnish their plates with fresh herbs. Serve with rice.Caleb Barber