Fennel and Leeks

Fennel and Leeks

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stir-fried Basil Beef with Shiitakes and Cashews

Photo Courtesy of Brad Lovejoy

I was walking through PCC Market, trying to decide what to make for dinner, when I happened upon this recipe. PCC often places featured recipes strategically throughout the store and this one was sitting near the meat counter. The minute I saw Thai basil, grass fed beef and cashews in the list of ingredients, I was sold. After gathering all necessary ingredients and going through checkout, I headed home to prepare the following recipe for Stir-fried Basil Beef with Shiitakes and Cashews.

1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 lb grass fed beef, sirloin or top round, cut into thick strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced fresh Shiitake mushrooms
1 small hot red chile, sliced (I used a milder small green chile)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into julienne strips
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cane sugar
20 Thai or sweet basil leaves
1/2 cup roasted cashews

Heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat in wok or large saute pan. Stir-fry beef and garlic for 4 minutes and remove from pan. Add remaining oil to pan and cook onion, mushroom, chile and red bell pepper for 2 minutes.

Photo Courtesy of Brad Lovejoy

Stir in beef mixture and add soy sauce, sugar, basil leaves and cashews. Heat through and serve over steamed jasmine rice.

I would like to share one interesting note regarding grass-fed beef that was included with this recipe. Grass-fed beef takes less time to cook than grain-fed beef because it is leaner and lower in fat. It is also high in healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids. Stovetop cooking is perfect for grass-fed beef because you have more control over the temperature than on a grill.

This recipe was delicious all the way around. The grass-fed beef had amazing flavor and the cashews added the perfect amount of crunch. I also appreciate that Shiitakes are a meatier mushroom that hold flavor well and provide a robust texture. I don't use Shiitakes often so this was a nice reminder that they add complexity to a dish.

The only change I made is to use a mild to medium green chile instead of a hot red chile. I needed to keep the heat level of the dish on the low side so Olivia could enjoy dinner with Brad and me. There is one additional change I would make; I would double the number of Thai basil leaves. I love the flavor of Thai basil and as I ate my portion, I was craving more. Other than these small revisions, the recipe was near perfection. It definitely earned the Lovejoy stamp of approval.

Recipe Source:
Lynne Vea, PCC Natural Markets Chef via pccnaturalmarkets.com