Asian Style Beef Stew

Comfort food season is still in full effect here in chilly Wisconsin. Who am I kidding, it seems as though comfort food is always in full effect in my house! Recently as I was rummaging through my freezer, I happened to see a rump roast, and I decided to set it out for the following meal. My kids have yet to get into the whole idea of beef stew, or a pot roast if you will. I have no idea why as I consider that meal totally comforting, however you make it. With that said, and with the notion that my kids were not going to be all that interested in it, I decided to take a spin on a beef stew, and use some Asian style flavors that just elevated this beef stew to a whole other level.

Asian Style Beef Stew Recipe

The ingredients in this recipe are simple. Basically beef, carrots, onion, garlic, and an Asian punch of fish sauce. It’s incredible.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 1/2 lbs of beef rump roast, cut into large cubes
  • 2 whole yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 whole carrots, trimmed, cut into large chunks
  • 4 clove of garlic, minced
  • 5 pieces of star anise
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of good quality fish sauce, I use Red Boat
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 4 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 5 whole russet potatoes, cubed, and cooked
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • salt, to taste

Start by getting a large pot or dutch oven on the stove, on medium heat. Add the canola oil, and let it come up to temperature.

Season the beef with salt and cracked black pepper, then add the beef to the pot, being careful not to crowd the beef. Work in batches if you have to. Brown and caramelize each side of the beef cubes. Once all of the beef is browned, add in the onions, and give a good stir. The onions will release some moisture which will allow you to scrape any of the fond from the bottom of the pot.

Once the onions have sweated down a bit, and are translucent, toss in the garlic, star anise, chili flakes, and cinnamon. Give that a good stir and cook for a few minutes to release the awesome aroma. Seriously, take in that aroma.

Next add in the brown sugar, and give this a good stir. It should dissolve rather quickly. Next, add in the fish sauce, and again another stir. This is when my kids had asked ‘What’s that smell?!’. They should be accustomed to that smell by now, trust me.

How to make Asian style beef stew

Ok, now it is time to add in the beef stock. Pour it in, stir, and let it come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about  1 1/2 hours.

During this time, make the mashed potatoes. To a another pot, add cold water. Peel your potatoes, cut them into cubes, and place them in the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes, returning them back to the pot, and cook them again on medium-low heat to remove any excess water. Then you can either mash them in the pot, or run them through a ricer. Regardless, once they are mashed, add the butter, milk, and season with salt. Taste, and season or adjust to your liking. Set them aside until you are ready to use them.

After about 1 hour of cooking the beef stew, add in the carrots, and give another stir. Taste the broth and season with any salt and pepper at that time. It should be sweet, aromatic, and Asian tasting if you will.

When the beef is about fall apart tender, and the carrots are tender, it is then time to serve.

Asian Style Beef Stew Recipe

To a plate, spread out some of the mashed potatoes, then ladle on the Asian style beef stew. Make sure you get plenty of carrots and beef, and pick out any of the star anise and cinnamon as you will not want yourself, or others to eat those!

This might look like a standard style beef stew, but trust me, it is way more than that. The flavor profile is similar, may in aromatics, of that of Vietnamese pho, but in the comfort of a beef stew. Trust me on this one. It is pretty darn delicious. Did my kids eat it? Nope. I will say however that once they do get ‘courageous’ and step out of their own comfort zones, I know they will fall in love with any type of beef stew.  I hope you enjoy!

Avocado Egg Rolls

Are you a fan of the avocado? I know my wife and I are big fans, and we typically buy a handful of them on a weekly basis. Some times however those darn, and delicious avocados tend to get a bit too soft, and if you are like me, I am just not a fan of really soft avocados. I was not going to let those avocados get soft on me this time around, and that when I decided to make an attempt at stuffing them inside of egg roll wrappers and see if they would turnout. Whoa! I love me some egg rolls, but now I really, really love them, especially avocado egg rolls!

Avocado Egg Rolls Recipe

It doesn’t get any simpler to make as well. Think of making a great guacamole and stuffing them inside of an egg roll wrapper.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole avocados, sliced, peeled and seed removed
  • 1 whole roma tomato, pulp removed, diced
  • 1 whole shallot, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup of shredded cheese
  • 6 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salsa, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • 2 cups of canola oil

Start by adding the avocado to a mixing bowl, along with the tomato, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, lime juice, shallot, garlic, and salt. Mix well, however I like to keep mine on the chunkier side.

Next, add the oil to a saute pan. Heat to medium heat. While the oil heats up, lets make the egg rolls.

Divide your guacamole into three parts. Take your egg roll wrapper and add one part of the guacamole to the bottom center of the wrapper. Then top with some of the shredded cheese. I like to keep one of the points of the wrapper facing me like a diamond pattern. See the link for how to fold an egg roll.

How to make avocado egg rolls

When you are about done rolling an egg roll, take the beaten egg and add to the top point of the wrapper, then finish rolling. Take another wrapper, add the egg roll in the middle, top with a bit more cheese, and repeat the rolling process. Yes, it is a double wrap. I find that if you do not double wrap that there is a big risk of the egg roll to burst. You do not want that. Repeat with the other two egg rolls.

If you have any more mixture, dip with a chip and enjoy.

Add the egg rolls to the oil, and cook until all sides are crisp. This should take about 5 minutes. Turn the egg rolls along the way.

When the avocado egg rolls are nice and golden crisp, remove and place in a paper lined strainer to remove any excess oil.

How to make Avocado Egg Rolls

Get your serving plate out and add some sour cream, salsa, and any lime wedges should you desire. Dig in.

My wife was blown away by these things. Love guacamole? Well, your world will change when you try these avocado egg rolls. Hope you enjoy!

Avocado Egg Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole avocados, sliced, peeled and seed removed
  • 1 whole roma tomato, pulp removed, diced
  • 1 whole shallot, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • ¾ cup of shredded cheese
  • 6 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salsa, optional
  • Sour cream, optional
  • 2 cups of canola oil
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the avocado to a mixing bowl, along with the tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, shallot, garlic, and salt. Mix well, however I like to keep mine on the chunkier side.
  2. Next, add the oil to a saute pan. Heat to medium heat. While the oil heats up, lets make the egg rolls.
  3. Divide your guacamole into three parts. Take your egg roll wrapper and add one part of the guacamole to the bottom center of the wrapper. Then top with some of the shredded cheese. I like to keep one of the points of the wrapper facing me like a diamond pattern. See the link for how to fold an egg roll.
  4. When you are about done rolling an egg roll, take the beaten egg and add to the top point of the wrapper, then finish rolling. Take another wrapper, add the egg roll in the middle, top with a bit more cheese, and repeat the rolling process. Yes, it is a double wrap. I find that if you do not double wrap that there is a big risk of the egg roll to burst. You do not want that. Repeat with the other two egg rolls.
  5. If you have any more mixture, dip with a chip and enjoy.
  6. Add the egg rolls to the oil, and cook until all sides are crisp. This should take about 5 minutes. Turn the egg rolls along the way.
  7. When the avocado egg rolls are nice and golden crisp, remove and place in a paper lined strainer to remove any excess oil.
  8. Get your serving plate out and add some sour cream, salsa, and any lime wedges should you desire. Dig in.

 

Baba Ghanoush

My wife and I are really big fans of homemade hummus. To be honest, personally, I do not think there is any good store bought hummus out there. I’ve tried various brands and they all go to waste, which is a shame in my opinion. There is something about the texture, and flavors, that when scooped with vegetables, or simple pita bread, well, it just makes everything better. There is a similar Levantine dish that my wife was not aware of, and one that I truly love as well, and that is Baba Ghanoush. Typically this dip can be made with an array of ingredients, but the base is grilled and charred eggplants. Let me tell you, this dish is a winner. A perfect appetizer or meal for that matter.

Baba Ghanoush Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole Italian eggplants, medium sized
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 whole lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp Tahini paste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, more to drizzle
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • Toasted pita or vegetables for serving

Trust me friends, it doesn’t get any easier than this!

Your goal here is to char your eggplants on the grill. I like do do mine over charcoal, however you can get away with roasting this under a broiler if you want. I like the grill however because you are trying to get some of that smokey flavor from the grill.

Start by making a few pokes into the eggplants with a fork. Once your grill is nice and hot, add the eggplants over direct heat. You are going to cook these on the grill for about 30-40 minutes, turning them along the way to ensure that all sides are nice and charred.

How to make Baba Ghanoush

The rest is rather easy…

Remove the eggplants and completely wrap them in foil, or place them into a large bowl and cover with foil. Your goal here is to let that heat get under that skin and have it easily be pulled away, almost as if you were roasting poblano chilies.

During this time, add the garlic and lemon juice to a mixing bowl.

Get a salad spinner out if you have one.

After about 10 minutes, uncover, and take an eggplant by the stem, and using a fork and your hands, carefully remove the outer skin, reserving all of the flesh. Place this flesh into your salad spinner. Do the same with the second eggplant.

You will not believe how much water is inside of this eggplant. The goal is to remove all of that excess water and the salad spinner is the perfect candidate for this task.

Remove the strained eggplant flesh to the bowl with the garlic and lemon juice. Using two forks, start mashing and mixing the ingredients. After about a minute of doing this, add the salt and tahini paste, and continue to mix and mash until everything becomes a smooth mixture, similar to hummus but with some texture. Add in the olive oil and give another mix or two.

Taste and season with any additional salt or lemon juice.

Spoon onto a serving dish alongside toasted pita chips or vegetables and dig in.

I served this yesterday, and well, it’s all gone. That’s how good it was, even my daughter partook  in the experience and loved it as well. Hope you enjoy!

Cajun Style Split Pea Soup

Nearly once a year I always make split pea soup. I’m probably the biggest fan of it in my household, and I’m fine with that. There is something special about this soup, and it may come from the smokiness of the ham, but ultimately it is not only satisfying as it is truly comforting. So this past Christmas, my mother-in-law offered me the ham bone as she typically always does, and I never decline. I’m a fan of the ham bone as well, and I know exactly what I am going to do with that ham bone every year, and that is to make a split pea soup! This time around however, I decided to change things up a bit, and add a few additional items to the soup and turn it into a Cajun style split pea soup. I’m glad I did, because this just elevated the wonderful flavors.

Cajun Style Split Pea Soup

Lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of chicken stock
  • 4 whole carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
  • 3 whole onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 ham bone, with ham to spare
  • 1/2 pound of split peas, washed and reviewed
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole links of Andouille sausage, sliced into chunks
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 6 whole shrimp, deveined, peeled

Start by adding your stock and hambone to a soup pot. Make sure you are able to have enough stock to submerge the ham bone, if not, add some water. Toss in 2 carrots, 2 ribs of celery, and two onions. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 4 hours. I actually started mine in the evening and just let it cook down overnight.

After the four hours, or overnight cook, remove the ham bone and any of the large pieces of ham that might have fallen off, and set to the side. Strain the rest, reserving all of the stock. I mash every little bit ensuring that I get all of those flavors into the stock. I love this part because it allows me to use my chinois strainer!

How to make Cajun style split pea soup

Next, lets get the soup started.

Clean your soup pot, then return it back to the stove. On medium heat, add the stock back to the pot, and add in your split peas, the remaining carrots, celery, and onion. Season with a bit of salt, and cracked black pepper. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook.

To a skillet, add the oil, and bring to a medium heat. Toss in the garlic and Andouille sausage. Cook the sausage until it gets some nice color on it.

Shred any remaining ham, and add that to the stock mixture. Add in the bell peppers to the stock as well.

Once the sausage is cooked, add the garlic and sausage mixture to the stock. Give a good stir, and continue to cook.

Cook for about 1 hour, then taste your peas. You want them tender, but not mushy.

Cajun Style Split Pea Soup

Once the peas are tender, add in the cleaned shrimp and cook until they are just opaque.

Now you are ready to serve!

Get out your bowls and ladle in the Cajun style split pea soup, making sure you get a bit of everything.

The end result is awesome. It’s everything you love about a split pea and ham soup, but you get the great additions of sausage, shrimp, and a bit of heat. I’m hoping my mother-in-law keeps on the tradition of providing me that ham bone because I know this is going to be my go to split pea soup from here on out! I hope you enjoy!