Thursday, March 25, 2010

Indonesian Pork & Coconut Stew w/Wok-sauteed Bok Choy and Peppers

Something old and something new I thought. I needed a crockpot recipe this week so I thought I'd just throw together an old favorite of mine (not necessarily of anyone else in the family but um.. *%$k'em – lol).

There is an stew I love that utilizes coconut milk (a big favorite flavor of mine) and some of my favorite spices (cumin & coriander). It is originally meant for beef, and that makes sense with it being an Indonesian stew, but I find that pork is a far far superior substitute. (I'm reminded of that one episode of No Reservations in Indonesia where in Bali, Chef Bourdain samples some chili stuffed, coconut basted suckling pig roasted over an open-fire spit – looks like heaven on earth! And since then, the idea of the combo of pork and coconut has had a sweet spot in my memory banks)

This stew is best served with a side of white rice. I looked for jasmine in the market but alas, had to settle for basmati. I always seem to agonize over what vegetable to serve along side this dish. I've served peas and whole green beans but none of that ever seems right. Unfortunately, one of my weak areas is Asian cuisine :(

But then I remembered seeing bok choy and recalled my one instance of preparing some back when I was at the CCVA. Yeah it's a Chinese vegetable but Indonesia isn't far off, they're both Asian so foo! It's the best I could come up with on the fly!
So after perusing some recipes I decided to do a wok saute of sliced bok choy and bell peppers. Simple and exactly what I'm looking for to go with an A) Slow cooker meal and B) Asian meal in need of vegetable side.

So enough yappin'. Down to the nitty gritty.

Indonesian Beef Pork Stew

¼ c. Vegetable Oil
3 # Boneless Beef Chuck OR Pork Shoulder/Butt – cut into 2 in. cubes
1 Yellow Onion – chopped
2 c. Shredded Coconut (preferably unsweetened, but if sweetened is all you can find that's fine. I've never had a problem with it)
1 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Ground Coriander
1 T. Ground Cumin
2 cans Coconut Milk (shake cans well before opening to re-emulsify the cream and watery milk)
Salt and White Pepper TT
Steamed White Rice for serving

~ In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry meat chunks til seared on all sides (about 5 minutes). To avoid crowding the pan and to get a good sear, do this in batches if you must.
~ Add the onions, shredded coconut, brown sugar, spices and 1 t. of salt and pepper to the pan (along with the rest of the meat) and saute until everything is nicely browned and fragrant (about 7 minutes). Transfer this mixture to the slowcooker.
~ Add the coconut milk to the frying pan and raise the heat to deglaze the pan and scrape up all the yummy brown bits. Bring the milk to a boil and then pour over the mixture in the slow cooker.
~ Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. Season the finished stew to taste with salt, pepper or a touch more brown sugar. Ladle over steamed rice.

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As always, when cutting into particularly tough cuts of meat you are going to want to slice against the grain. To not do so will produce a tough piece of meat and waste all that tender potential.
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After all seared and fragrant – smells so good.. Spicy and sweet like I like it!
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Deglazing the pan
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After it's time melding in the crockpot
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Basmati Rice – so easy to prepare! Really.. just boil it in a generous amount of water for 10 minutes, drain, let sit for about 3 minutes and fluff!
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Garlic Wok-fried Bok Choy and Peppers

Vegetable Oil
1 Yellow Bell pepper – julienne
1 Red Bell pepper – julienne
2 Heads Bok Choy – slice and separate the leafy part from the white stalk (the stalk needs more cooking time than the leafy part so prepare and keep separately)
2 Garlic Cloves – minced
1 t. Soy Sauce
Salt TT

~ Heat oil in a hot wok and saute peppers and the white part of the bok choy. Cook for about 5 minutes.
~ Add in leafy part of bok choy and garlic to the pan and saute for two minutes more until the greens are wilted. Splash soy sauce all over and serve immediately. Salt to taste.

Wash your bok choy at the last minute, under cold running water. Remove the root stem as it is inedible.
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Wok-in' out with my bok out!Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Pretend I'm saying “Let's Eat!” in Chinese right here.. Maybe Cantonese?
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Bok Choy
Bok Choy, also known as Pak Choi (literal meaning of “white vegetable”), is a leafy dark green variety of Chinese cabbage. Indeed, there are about 3 dozen Chinese cabbage varieties but bok choy is quite distinguishable and is becoming very popular in Western cuisine and markets. Bok Choy was first introduced to Europe in the 18th century, and later in North America during the gold rush of the late 19th century.

Bok Choy is sometimes described as bitter but mostly as a mild and slightly sweet vegetable. It is part of the brassica family of vegetables (cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, brussle sprouts) and resembles a cross between celery and swiss chard. It is utilized by a myriad of cooking preparations (eaten raw (sometimes marinated), stewed, sauteed, braised, steamed..). This vegetable is also a wonderful source of vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, folic acid, calcium and iron

pg. 25 Food Made Easy (Slow Cooker) – Williams Sonoma
pg. 104, 105 The Visual Food Encyclopedia – Wiley Publishing, Inc.
pg. 84, 122, 185 The Flavor Bible – Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg