Wednesday, 27 April 2022 14:59

Beef & Broccoli - From Frozen!

We don't have fresh broccoli in March, but since broccoli is easy to preserve (just blanch and freeze), beef & broccoli is a year-round favorite at our house.

The secret to this recipe is the sauce. You can substitute any veggie(s) you like, and switch out or even eliminate the protein. It's a good base for any kind of stir fry.

I like to serve it over rice, but noodles are a great option as well. Just be sure to start your starch at the right time so that it will be done at the same time as the main dish.

Ingredients for 2-3 servings:

  • 2 lbs sirloin steak, or top/bottom round roast, or another lean cut
  • 10-12 oz frozen broccoli
  • 2/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine)
  • 2.5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • minced garlic to taste (2-6 cloves, depending on how much you like garlic)

If you're using fresh garlic, mince it first, so you don't have to use a second cutting board and knife, and set it aside.

Then slice the steak or roast into thin strips with a sharp knife. I usually also begin heating the liquid to make rice at this point, since it takes about 20 minutes to cook rice.

Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, and cornstarch well, and set aside.

Add a tablespoon of any cooking oil to a large pan and heat over medium.

Add the sliced meat to the pan, and stir to just barely brown, then add the frozen broccoli. Frozen broccoli takes less time to cook than fresh, which is why I add it after the meat, when cooking from frozen.

Immediately put a lid on the pan, and allow to steam and begin to thaw the broccoli for about two minutes.

Then add your minced garlic (fresh or from a jar) and give your soy sauce mixture a stir before adding it to your pan as well. Immediately stir, as the cornstarch will begin to thicken the sauce as soon as it hits the pan. If it becomes too thick, add a drizzle of water, but be aware the frozen broccoli will release some liquid as it thaws and cooks. Turn down the heat to medium low, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes, or until the broccoli is tender. Serve over rice or noodles!

Some tips for modifying:

If using fresh broccoli or firm vegetables like carrots, you will want to start cooking these a few minutes before adding the meat, along with a small amount of water so they will begin to soften. If you add them after the meat, they will take so long to cook that the meat will begin to toughen before the vegetables are thoroughly cooked. Frozen vegetables are typically blanched, and this reduces the cooking time needed.

If you want to add something very delicate, like halved cherry tomatoes, I recommend adding them at the very end of cooking, giving them only 1-2 minutes in the pan. You just want to warm them through, not reduce them to mush.

And finally, the more "stuff" you add, the more sauce you'll need to cover it all. So feel free to make a larger batch of the sauce mixture, keeping the same proportions outlined in the recipe.