JeanMarie Brownson: This homemade beef and broccoli stir-fry is take-out worthy

Make no mistake, weeknight cooking challenges everyone. To reduce stress, and the temptation for take-out burgers and fries, I stock ground beef and turkey in the freezer, onions and garlic on the counter, and rice noodles, interesting sauces and marinades in the pantry. The fridge usually boasts a member of the cabbage family, a bag of carrots and fresh limes.

Worthy of take-out, this beef and broccoli stir-fry comes together in less than 30 minutes. While the microwave oven defrosts the meat, a flavorful sauce of hoisin and soy gets mixed. The cutting board fills quickly with minced garlic, ginger and onions. Packaged shredded broccoli slaw mix and carrots save time. Optional peanuts, chow mein noodles and tinned water chestnuts add crunch to the final dish.

Ground turkey can stand in for the beef for a less rich dish. The sweetness of hoisin complements the cabbage flavor; oyster sauce or black bean and garlic sauce make a less sweet, savorier version.

Serve this vegetable-heavy dish as is, or pile it over cooked rice or rice noodles. Wide rice noodles, sold in the Asian section of large supermarkets, cook quickly in boiling water. Give them a rinse after draining.

Leftovers taste good cold or reheated. A fried egg on top transforms them into another satisfying meal.

The optional toppings add pizzazz, but don’t hesitate to make this delicious stir-fry just because you don’t have them on hand.

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli with Hoisin

Makes 6 servings

Note: If desired, use 4 cups or 1 package (14 ounces) shredded cabbage in place of the broccoli slaw. Two large carrots, shredded, can replace the bagged shreds.

For the sauce:

1/3 cup hoisin sauce, Asian chili sauce with garlic OR oyster sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

For the meat mixture:

2 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil, safflower or sunflower oil

1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger or refrigerated ginger puree

3 large green onions, trimmed, thinly sliced

1 pound lean ground beef (90/10) or ground turkey

For the vegetable mixture:

1/2 of a 10-ounce package shredded carrots

1 small yellow or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut into thin matchsticks

1 bag (12 ounces) shredded broccoli slaw

1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained, optional

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Lime wedges

For serving:

Chopped dry-roasted peanuts, crispy chow mein noodles or crunchy wonton strips, optional

3 to 4 cups cooked rice noodles or cooked brown rice

1. For sauce, mix hoisin, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.

2. Heat a large deep wok or deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add canola oil, yellow onion, garlic, ginger and 2/3 of the green onions. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add ground beef or turkey. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spatula, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Stir in soy sauce mixture. (Recipe can be made up to 2 days in advance; refrigerated covered. Reheat well, then proceed with step 3.)

3. Stir in carrots and bell pepper. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until peppers start to soften, 3 minutes. Stir in broccoli slaw and optional water chestnuts. Cook and stir until vegetables are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime over to taste. Sprinkle with optional peanuts. Serve with noodles or brown rice.

(JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades.)

Categories: Food