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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Stir-Fried Orange-Pineapple Beef

From: ArcaMax Publishing's "Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Content Agency" (1/21/2015)


Notes from Wolfgang: Stir-fry lean beef and winter fruit for a light, bright main dish!

As all the fun and excitement of the holiday season begins to fade, January can seem like a bleak month. Not only can the cold weather and long, dark nights make you feel like you're under siege, but the challenges of sticking to tough New Year's resolutions -- like those to eat more healthfully and drop a few pounds -- can quite literally weigh you down.

So now is the moment to aim for more fun with your healthy cooking. The recipe I share with you here for Stir-Fried Orange-Pineapple Beef does exactly that in two very distinctive ways.

First of all is the cooking method. Asian-style stir-frying can be a great way to prepare delicious food without loading up your plate with a lot of fat. I especially love it for cooking main dishes that feature red meat, because the technique is well-suited to lean, somewhat tough cuts like the flavorful flank steak I use here, which is thinly sliced across the grain to maximize its tenderness during the quick cooking process. Stir-frying can also be accomplished with minimal amounts of added fat, especially if you use a nonstick wok and add just a light but even coating of nonstick spray before you start cooking.

The only extra fat in the recipe comes from a single tablespoon of peanut oil, spread among four servings, which is used as a flavoring ingredient rather than for cooking the steak. So the stir-fry on its own delivers only about 300 calories per serving, of which 35 percent or so comes from fat. Add the steamed brown rice I include here and the calorie total comes to about 470 calories, with only some 120 calories, or about 26 percent, from fat -- well within the recommended limits for a healthy diet.

There's another healthy aspect to this recipe, as well -- one that makes it ideal for lifting your spirits on a wintry night. I'm referring, of course, to the inclusion in the stir-fry of fresh orange segments and pineapple chunks, both fruit you can find easily in your supermarket right now. In addition to the sweet, zesty and tangy flavors they add, they also endow a single serving of this recipe with more than a half of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C -- just the boost you need during cold season.

But I love the presence of the fruit even more for a different boost it provides: its bright, sunshiny orange and gold colors. The sight of this dish on your dinner table is enough to chase away even the deepest case of the winter doldrums!

​Stir-Fried Orange-Pineapple Beef

Serves 4


1 cup (250 ml) uncooked brown rice
1 medium seedless orange
1 tablespoon (15 ml)​ cornstarch
​non-stick cooking spray
1 pound (455 g) well-trimmed flank steak, all visible fat removed, meat cut across the grain into slices about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick
​kosher salt
​freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15 ml)​ peanut oil
1 scallion, trimmed, a little white and green parts minced to yield 2 teaspoons
​ (10 ml)​, the remainder thinly sliced on the diagonal and reserved
2 teaspoons (10 ml)​ finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons (10 ml)​ finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml)​ red pepper flakes, optional
​​3/4 cup (17​5 ml) organic low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon (15 ml) ​low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml)​ packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (250 ml) bite-sized fresh pineapple wedges


1. ​Begin cooking the brown rice following the packaging instructions.

​2. ​First, use a hand-held grater to grate 2 teaspoons

​ (10 ml)​ of bright-orange zest from the orange, setting the zest aside.

​3. ​To segment the orange, use a small, sharp, preferably serrated knife to cut off the peel thickly enough to remove not only the white pith but also the outer membrane of the segments underneath, exposing the fruit itself. Then, holding the peeled fruit over a bowl to catch the juice and individual segments, carefully cut down along either side of a wedge-shaped segment between the fruit pulp and the membrane, freeing the segment from the membrane, letting the segment fall into the bowl. Continue with each segment. Squeeze the membranes over the bowl to release any remaining juice. Set the segments aside along with 2 tablespoons

​ (30 ml)​ of the juice.

​4. ​When the rice is almost ready, begin the stir-fry. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons orange juice and stir well to dissolve the cornstarch and form a slurry. Set aside.

​5. ​Preheat a non

​-​stick stovetop or electric wok. When it is hot, spray its cooking surface evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter in the steak slices, season quickly with salt and pepper, and stir-fry, using a nonstick spatula to keep the slices moving all over the wok's surface, just until the meat is evenly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.

​6. ​Add the peanut oil to the wok. As soon as it is hot, add the minced scallion, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and, if you like, red pepper flakes, and stir-fry just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Briefly stir the slurry again to liquefy the cornstarch and immediately add it along with the chicken broth, soy sauce and sugar, stirring until the mixture starts bubbling and thickens, about 1 minute.

​7. ​Return the steak slices to the wok, add the orange segments and pineapple wedges, and stir briefly to coat them evenly with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed with a little more salt and pepper.

​8. ​Divide the brown rice among four heated large individual serving plates or bowls. Spoon the steak, fruit and sauce on top of each serving of rice. Garnish with the sliced scallions. Serve immediately

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