Spicy Orange Beef!

Beef meets orange and bell peppers. Yum!

Tangy. Delicious. Quick and Easy!

This great recipe takes a few items from the Asian food section of the store. Fear not! They are pretty standard things that can be found in most grocery stores. In fact, my last jar of chili garlic sauce came from Target.

Here’s what you need:

1-1.5 pound flank steak, orange, green onions/scallions, red bell pepper, ginger root, cooking/salad oil, dry sherry, soy sauce (I use low sodium), honey, corn starch, chili garlic sauce, seasme oil (optional), hoisin sauce (photo below), and brown rice.

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Steamed broccoli makes a good accompaniment. Eat more green veg.

Please pretend that this Hoisin Sauce is in the photo above. (If I actually knew how to use my photoshop software, I’m sure I could have snuck it in there….oh well.)

I like to serve this with brown rice. Rice usually takes about 20 minutes to cook, so start the rice cooking now. The rest of the dinner comes together quite quickly.

I have a rice cooker, but you can also make perfectly good rice in a pot on the stove if you remember the #1 most important rule of rice –  NO PEEKING!

If you need help cooking rice go HERE.

Flank Steak is a great meat for quick and easy cooking. It is a bit more sinewy than most cuts of beef but when sliced thin and cooked quickly, it is tender and delicious.  Perfect for stir fry dishes like Spicy Orange Beef.

Notice how the Flank Steak has a grain that runs the length of the meat? To make the most tender slices, cut across the grain holding your knife at an angle.

I try to slice the meat very thinly so that it can cook as quickly as possible.

If your steak is especially wide, cut the strips in half to make smaller, more bite-sized slices.

In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce. I prefer the low sodium soy sauce for this recipe. It has a bit milder flavor and won’t overwhelm the dish with soy sauce saltiness.

Add 2 Tablespoons of Dry Sherry. Remember to buy real Sherry and not that bizarre stuff labeled “cooking sherry”.

Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved in the soy sauce and sherry.

Place your sliced Flank Steak in a large zipper bag and pour the sauce over the meat.

Zip up the bag squeezing out the air as you go. Give it a little massage to work the sauce into the meat. Put this aside to marinate (no need to refrigerate) as you prepare the veggies.

Using a microplane or other small grater, remove the zest or outer rind from an orange. The zest holds all of the essential oils of the orange and most of the great flavor. Remember to only grate away the outermost orange layer and not the white pithy part that can taste quite bitter.

Put the orange zest aside, cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into a bowl or measuring cup. 1 orange should give you about 1/4 cup of juice.

Whoa…action shot…a little blurry…sorry about that.

The orange juice will be the base for our fabulous sauce. To the orange juice, add 2 Tablespoons Dry Sherry.

Add 2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce and 2 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce.

Also add 2 Tablespoon of honey.

Add 1 Tablespoon of Chili Garlic Sauce and stir all of the ingredients together.

Can we talk about spicy food for a minute? I really used to be a spicy food whimp. I’m not a big fan of food that burns my face. However, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Chili Garlic Sauce. It has just the right amount of heat combined with fantastic flavor. Just look at all those little bits of chili peppers and chunks of garlic. This sauce adds so much more flavor than heat to the recipe. Please give it a try.

Chop 3 or 4 green onions into small pieces. I like to use both the green and white parts of the green onion. Just cut off the little root end and also trim up the very top of the dark green part then slice away.

Grab a hunk of fresh ginger root. It’s that knobby looking thing in the produce section. I have a piece that is about 2 inches long.  The ginger root in the store will probably be in bigger pieces with several little “arms”. It’s completely okay to break off a chunk that is about the size that you need. Don’t feel that you have to buy the whole piece.

Scrape or cut off the brown outer peel.

Slice the ginger into thin slices from top to bottom and then cut the slices into very thin strips. Carefully cut across the strips as closely as you can to make tiny, tiny pieces. This is called mincing. If you’re into measuring, you want 2-3 Tablespoons of minced ginger.

You will notice that some ginger can be very tough and fibrous. Sometimes it doesn’t want to cut easily in one direction or another. If you have this problem, try turning your ginger a different direction and cutting the other way. If you are still having trouble (some roots can be very tough) you can always use a grater.

Cut a red bell pepper in half, remove the seeds and inner membranes and cut into thin strips. My pepper was very long so I’ve cut each half in half to make more bite-sized pieces.

By now your rice should be well on it’s way. Time to cook the good stuff.

If you have a wok-style pan with the high sloped sides, great. If not any wide pan will do. Non-stick will make your life even easier.

Turn the burner on HIGH and add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. I’m using Canola Oil but any salad oil will do. Peanut oil is very good for stir-frys because it can be cooked at very high temperatures. Olive oil is not the best choice because it tends to smoke when it gets too hot.

To cook the meat quickly the heat needs to be quite high. This means VERY HOT OIL. Be careful. Oven mitts are  a good idea. Have you met my good friend the splatter screen? The Kitchen Gadget Queen highly recommends it.

Splatter Screen - keep the hot oil in the pan where it belongs

Working in small batches, add about 1/3 of the meat to the pan. Be careful not to over-crowd the pan or the meat will steam and not brown.

If the pan and the oil are very hot, this should cook very quickly. Only a minute or two needed. Take the meat out of the pan when it is still fairly pink but also has some good brown bits.

Put the cooked meat aside in a bowl and continue with the other batches of steak. If your pan is looking dry, feel free to add just a bit more oil.

When all the meat has cooked and has been removed from the pan, add the bell pepper, green onions and ginger adding a touch more oil if needed. (One other benefit to using a non-stick pan is that it uses much less oil.)

Quickly cook the veggies for 2-3 minutes until they are fragrant and tender. The peppers should stay quite crunchy.

When the veggies have cooked for a couple of minutes, turn the heat down to medium, return the meat to the pan and add the delicious orange sauce.

Scrape up any of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer.

Just a note: if you don’t use a non-stick pan, you will be cursing my good name about now. While the cornstarch does a great job of making a delicious smooth sauce, it also causes the meat to stick like crazy. When I use my wok, I usually have a big old stuck-on mess on the bottom of the pan. DO NOT PANIC! All of this will easily come up when you add the liquids to the pan. You might have to let the sauce simmer just a bit longer and do some scraping with a wooden spoon, but those bits of brown, tasty goodness will free themselves from your pan and make your sauce sing.

Just before serving, stir in the orange zest.  If you have sesame oil, you can add a little drizzle (maybe 1-2 teaspoons…this is powerful stuff) for extra flavor. To be honest, I forget to add the sesame oil about half the time and it’s still plenty delicious.

Serve atop brown rice with steamed broccoli. This is better than any carry-out I’ve had.

Go introduce your steak to the orange and the pepper. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s the recipe!

Spicy Orange Beef

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