FRAGRANT BEEF STEW
2¼ pounds beef, chuck, top round
3 garlic cloves
3 lemongrass stalks or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
¼ teaspoon annatto powder
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
½ tablespoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
INGREDIENTS – STEW
1 green chile or Thai chile
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
3 kaffir, curry, or bay leaves
3 star anise pods
2⅓ cups coconut water, beef stock, or beer
¼ cup fresh* Thai basil or basil
⅓ cup fresh** mint leaves
* = or 4 teaspoons dried Thai basil
** = 5¼ teaspoons dried mint
Serves 4. Takes 2 hours 10 minutes.
PREPARATION – MARINADE
Cut beef into 1″ cubes. Mince garlic cloves. Remove white outer leaves from lemongrass stalks. Mince remaining green part of lemongrass. Add all marinade ingredients to mixing. Mix with hands until well blended and beef cubes are well coated. Marinate for 30 minutes.
PREPARATION – STEW
Dice carrots, shallots, and tomato. Seed and mince chile. Dice Thai basil and mint. Add vegetable oil to large pot. Heat oil using medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when a little bit of shallot starts to dance in the oil. Add marinated beef cubes. Sauté at medium-high heat until beef cubes turn completely brown. Stir enough to ensure even browning. Add shallot. Sauté at medium-high heat until shallot softens.
Add tomato, chile, cinnamon stick, kaffir leaves, and star anise. Stir until well blended. Add coconut water. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Stir until well blended. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add carrot. Simmer for 30 minutes more or until beef cubes and carrot become tender. Remove cinnamon stick, kaffir lime leaves, and star anise pods. Garnish with Thai basil and mint.
1) The Western Roman Empire fell in 476.
2) Too many barbarian armies attacked Rome for its vast supply of eggs.
3) The barbarians loved to eat Pionono.
4) For every single meal.
5) This meant they needed Rome’s eggs.
6) Rome had lots of eggs and chickens. All civilizations have them.
7) So, the invading hordes destroyed Rome. The lands descended into anarchy.
8) With the collapse of Western Civilization, came the disappearance of the poultry industry.
9) Hardly anyone had eggs.
10) If word got out that you had a chicken ranch, cutthroat gangs would raid your lands and carry you off to lead a hard existence in some faraway land.
11) And you’d never eat another egg.
12) Not ever. And without eggs, you could never eat Pionono again. Who’d want to go through life knowing that?
13) Clearly, this was an untenable existence.
14) But would could be done?
15) As we all know, the gene that directs some people to chicken ranching, also makes them extremely poor fighters. These ranchers needed brave, sturdy fighters to protect them.
16) Indeed in the sixth century, strongmen emerged all over Western Europe to protect the chicken ranchers in return for eggs. This arrangement soon extended to all aspects of agriculture. This system became known as feudalism.
17) Now, no inventions occurred under feudalism as thinking stagnated. But hey, eggs.
Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.
My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.