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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vietnamese Beef

One of the most popular items at our annual client appreciation holiday party is the beef tenderloin - go figure.  We buy the big untrimmed tenderloins at Sam's.  Not only is it FAR more cost effective, but we've got the chain left over.  Now, it takes a good bit of time to clean and trim but the chain is worth every minute. 

Typically, we clean the chain and have it in a dish the night before the party.  It's a fabulous tenderloin bite.  Well, in 2010, that didn't happen.  So, there was a freezer bag with chain in the freezer.  And, I'm on a kick to get the freezer a bit cleaned out. Please, don't ask how much progress I'm making :-(  I keep finding great recipes that don't apply.  Need I say more...  "Something with chain" would go on the menu then I'd find other recipes that sounded great.  Finally, Fine Cooking had a perfect way to use up that chain.  I'd go take a photo of the empty spot in the freezer but it's about 90 degrees in the garage and I've had enough of the heat.  In fact, on the way home from my south office today - the exterior thermometer said it was 101 degrees.  Needless to say, when I got home I pretty much cooked in the dark.  Anything to cool this place down! 

As I've been typing this, my mind has wandered back to Le Colonial in Chicago.  Many years ago, we were in Chicago for a couple of days and one of the fellows at the hotel recommended that we go there.  I'd never had Vietnamese food and I fell in love with it that evening.  I'm not a fan of hot.  But, I'm a major fan of flavor.  Vietnamese food has flavor combinations that just plain make your mouth dance.  This dish was no different.  I added a bit of komatsu that I found at the farmers market.  The stems are kind of like oriental celery.  And, I used brown rice instead of white like they showed in the magazine photo.  Can't wait for lunch leftovers!!

Vietnamese Beef


2 T soy sauce
2 T lime juice
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 t fish sauce
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 T oil (canola or olive)
1 1/2 beef tenderloin cut in 3/4" pieces
1 medium onion, cut in 1/4" wedges
3 T salted peanuts, toasted and salted
2 scallions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced


Combine the soy sauce, lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Combine the garlic and 1 1/2 t of oil in another small bowl.  Season the beef with salt and pepper.  Put 1 1/2 t of oil in a 12" skillet.  Heat it until it's shimmering.  Add half of the beef. 

Cook 1-2 minutes a side until it's browned.  Turn and cook the 2nd side for 1-2 minutes.  Do NOT overcook your meat here. 

Remove the beef to a plate and add the 2nd batch.  Once you've cooked that, remove it to the bowl.  Add about another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat it to shimmering.  Add the onions. 

Now, here's where I made a bit of a change.  After the onions had cooked for a couple of minutes, I added some komatsu - primarily the stems cut in 1/4" dice. 

Once the onions are softened and a bit browned, add the garlic and stir until the garlic is fragrant.  Now, its time to add the meat and accumulated juices back into the pan along with the soy sauce and lime juice mixture.  Stir on high heat until the sauce has cooked down a bit.  Serve over brown rice and top with the chopped peanuts and scallions.

1 comment:

spcookiequeen said...

Kate, you have me wishing I had some of this chain in my freezer right now. I love Vietnamese flavors. I bet you could do the same thing with another cut, you have me thinking. We have been having a heat spell here too. Hope you cool off soon, it dropped over 20 degrees here now.