Chinese Braised Beef

From Cook's Illustrated | May/June 2014

Why this recipe works:

In our recipe, we simplify Chinese red-cooked beef for the American kitchen. For meat that cooks up rich and tender, we use readily available boneless beef short ribs in place of traditional (but harder to find) shank of beef; short ribs also cook a lot faster. To streamline the classic… read more

In our recipe, we simplify Chinese red-cooked beef for the American kitchen. For meat that cooks up rich and tender, we use readily available boneless beef short ribs in place of traditional (but harder to find) shank of beef; short ribs also cook a lot faster. To streamline the classic cooking method, we eliminate the blanching of the meat, and we move the pot from the stovetop to the oven. A pair of thickeners—gelatin and cornstarch—add body to the sauce. Five-spice powder provides characteristic flavors without the bother of whole spices, and a combination of hoisin sauce and molasses contributes the underlying sweetness that completes the dish.

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Serves 6

With its generous amount of soy sauce, this dish is meant to taste salty, which is why we pair it with plain white rice (see related content). A simple steamed vegetable like bok choy or broccoli completes the meal. Boneless beef short ribs require little trimming, but you can also use a 4-pound chuck roast. Trim the roast of large pieces of fat and sinew, cut it across the grain into 1-inch-thick slabs, and cut the slabs into 4 by 2-inch pieces.

Ingredients

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