12 hours ago
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tonight's food experiment began with a beef marinade. The result ended up being an unusual but satisfying "salad" of beef, rice, yogurt, pickled onions and mint. The journey is below.
This started because I had about a pound of chuck (cut into two large strips), and decided to try marinating it with several tablespoons of soy sauce, a light sprinkling of sesame oil, the juice from two limes, some salt and pepper, and a dusting of red curry powder. Thinking more, I thought it would best served slow-cooked and flaky, so I cut the marinade short. I seared the beef in a cast iron pan very briefly, then poured the juice from the marinade into the pan with a little water (say a third of a cup). This was then cooked in the oven at 300F for 3 hours. I had it covered for the first two hours, flipped the meat halfway through, and added some more water when the liquid in the pan started to dry out.
The result was a flaky beef with an highly flavored crust (where the soy sauce concentrated from the cooking process and really stood out). Once tasted, I knew the beef needed to be directly complemented with some other flavors to balance out that crust. Using two forks I shredded the beef into small pieces. The other components of the simple dish just presented themselves in my head.
I cooked up 3/4 cup of basmati rice, quickly pickled a thinly-sliced red onion (see recipe here, which I very loosely followed and let sit for about 40 minutes), added several dollops of natural greek yogurt (critical to the dish), and chopped up some mint (optional but I liked the addition).
In all got mixed together in a bowl, then served warm. If you feel like trying this exploration yourself (I wouldn't be posting here if I didn't like the result), I recommend pairing it with a strong red wine like an Aussie shiraz or a hefty California zin.
So there you have it. I haven't posted in a typical recipe format, because it was really just an ad hoc experimentation that used some flavors I've been playing with lately. The results, however, were satisfying and different (which, since I've spent so long cooking French-inspired food -- yes, I learned how to cook from Julia Child's Essentials of French Cooking -- qA what I was shooting for). Now I'm going to sit back and see if you all think I'm nuts.