Last Friday after work I was craving comfort food, but with one stipulation: it had to be a budget-friendly recipe (hence, most of the ingredients had to come from my current fridge situation or pantry). That’s when I came across the section “Dinner on a Dime” at myrecipes.com. The Beef and Bok Choy Hot Pot caught my eye because Asian flavors make my palate so happy. Plus, of the ingredients, I already had on-hand the noodles, garlic, low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, cinnamon, vegetable oil and carrots. So I picked up bok choy (a super cheap green), green onions, beef broth, ginger and beef stew meat. Surprise! The beef stew meet was a buy-one-get-one special. I paid less than $4 for about a pound, and got a second tray free. Here’s the recipe:
BEEF & BOK CHOY HOT POT
2 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup low-salt beef broth
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/4 cups chopped green onions
1 garlic clove, minced* (I doubled this, using 2 cloves because I heart garlic)
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrot
2 cups hot cooked wide rice noodles or fettuccine* (I used fedelini, similar to vermicelli)
Whisk together the first 6 ingredients and set aside. And then get going on the chopping of the ginger, garlic and green onions. I like green onions cut on the bias in strips about 1-inch long. This way, the onion holds up a bit more to the cooking. But even when served raw, I like a big bite, not a silly ring.
Then heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides.
Add broth mixture, green onions, garlic, and ginger; bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until beef is tender. While the broth mixture is simmering away, prep the carrots and bok choy. If you roll up the bok choy leaves like a cigar, you can slice through the layers and create these pretty ribbons of green. I included a few inches of the white, ribbed bok choy leave because I like that extra crunch.
Stir in bok choy and carrot, and cook 5 minutes or until tender.
Serve beef mixture over noodles. Serves 4.
Yummers. I will again proclaim my love for soups or so-called “hot pots” that require spoon and fork. And this particular recipe favors the spoon because it’s all about the broth. You get the blend of flavors from the savory beef broth, acidic rice vinegar, salty soy sauce and spicy hits of garlic, ginger and cinnamon! The longer all of these flavors steep, the richer the broth becomes. And I have to say, I was skeptical upon reading the recipe that the broth would be as flavorful as I desired, but I was proved wrong. I enjoyed the leftovers over the weekend as much as I enjoyed it the first time around. Because this batch made four servings, it was even more affordable and on-a-dime-conscious. I highly recommend giving this a try.