With a turkey in the oven and space on the stove needed for cooking other dishes, I turned to my Crock Pot to free up some room. I had resisted buying a large Crock Pot for a while. I was perfectly content to let my stews simmer on the stove top for hours. I didn't need yet another appliance clogging up my limited kitchen space. And yet, the bright red pot went on sale again and again. It was calling to me, I tell you.
So I finally gave in.
My attitude with the Crock Pot, and hopefully some adaptations of my usual recipes with it, is the same as most of my cooking -- to wash as few dishes afterward as possible. While I could have browned the beef on the stove and added it to the Crock Pot, that really wouldn't have done much to adapt the recipe. Instead of frying the annatto seeds to release their color, I decided to try heating it in water in the microwave with good results. Colors were released without the use of oil. After simmering all day, I didn't really think skipping the browning made much difference to the beef, in the end.
Crock Pot Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
Adapted from my recipe for Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
For a 4.5-quart Crock Pot, you'll need:
1 lb beef stew meat
1 lb oxtails, or short ribs, or any other beef bones
1 tblsp annatto seeds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
2-inch knob ginger, cut into big slices
1 stick of cinnamon
3 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
2 tsp Ca Ri Ni An Do (Vietnamese Indian Madras Curry Powder)
2 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
2 tsp salt
6-oz can tomato paste
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
3 potatoes or more, cut into 2 -inch chunks
1 cup pearl onions, or 1 large onion, cut into 2 inch chunks
Serve with with a squeeze of lime and basil, and with rice or flat rice noodles.
You'll need about 1 lb beef stew meat and 1 lb beef bones. Wash and place inside Crock Pot.
Sprinkle about 1/2 cup flour over the beef.
Then stir to make sure all the pieces are coated.
Add two bruised lemongrass stalks, ginger slices, a stick of cinnamon, and 3 star anise pods. Also add a few bay leaves, 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder, and 2 tsp Ca Ri Ni An Do (Vietnamese Indian Madras Curry Powder). Add in one large chopped onion. Fill the Crock Pot about 3/4 full.
Annatto seeds provide the deep rich red color and a slight sweetness to the stew. Add 1 tblsp annatto seeds to 1/2 cup water. Microwave for 1 minute to release the color.
Pour the liquid only into the Crock Pot and discard the annatto seeds.
Add 2 tblsp Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce), 2 tsp salt, and a 6-oz can tomato paste.
Stir. Cover and leave the Crock Pot on high for about 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.
Then add 2 carrots and 3 potatoes.
Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Cover and let the stew cook for another two hours.
Not used to cooking with the Crock Pot, I was worried when it didn't seem to be thickening very fast. But then, that's not the point of a Crock Pot. After 4 hours, the bo kho was just perfect.
Serve with bread, rice, or rice noodles, and a squeeze of lemon or lime and basil.
New recipes served this Thanksgiving:
Pate Chinois (Canadian Chinese Cottage Pie)
Pumpkin Marbled Cheesecake
Triple-Deviled Eggs with Black Pepper, Paprika, and Sriracha
Turkey Liver Pate
1 year ago today, gorgeously hued Mashed Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes.
2 years ago today, Tiramisu (the 5-minute Non-Recipe Recipe).