Aside from the beef and veggies being sourced locally and organic where possible, I decided make the hoisin sauce myself. This article from cooks.com gave me the confidence to jump in and customize it. Of course, if you have a favorite brand and want to use that, I'm sure it will work. I like to adjust the flavors (and I'm all over experimenting in the kitchen) so I made my own.
I was preparing for company coming to town and an uncertain schedule so I needed a meal that would be ready to go whenever the mood struck. I decided to make it a salad for two reasons; it seemed more convenient and I try to avoid cooking rice whenever possible (I assure you my friends are grateful)! As it turns out there were no left-overs (I love it when there are no left-overs).
Yield: Serves 8
Time: 1 hour prep, 6 hours in the crock pot
2 lbs chuck or sirloin steak, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup teriyaki (soy will work) sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp fresh ground ginger, grated
1 large bunch of green onions
1 cup Hoisin Sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp organic honey
2 tbsp black bean paste
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp chili sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
Enough water added to fill to cup
1 head nappa cabbage chopped
8 oz snow peas, washed and drained
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
1/2 cup chopped wasabi almonds as garnish
Lightly coat the inside of your crock pot with oil or cooking spray
Cut the beef and dredge in cornstarch. This is easily done by putting the cornstarch in a plastic bag and adding the meat. Shake it around and make sure all of the meat is coated. Let it stand at room temp while you heat the oil.
Heat oil in a large pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the beef and brown it. This shouldn't take more than 3-4 minutes. if you make 2 pounds of beef its best to do it in stages. The real cooking happens in the crock pot.
Turn the crock pot on low and add the beef, onions, garlic, ginger, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar and water. The green onions go in about 15 minutes before you're ready to serve.
Make the hoisin sauce.
In a small mixing bowl, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, black bean paste, peanut butter, honey, and rice vinegar. Mix well and taste it. Make adjustments to your liking but remember that it will be sweeter and saltier when added to the ingredients in the crock pot. Pour the mixture in a measuring cup. If you have less than a cup, and you are satisfied with the flavor, add enough water to make one full cup of sauce.
Add to the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (3-4 hours on medium).
About 15 minutes before you serve it, add the chopped green onions. I like them to remain somewhat crunchy so I add them last.
Assemble the salad (nappa cabbage, peppers, snow peas, etc). Serve the beef atop the salad. I use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the crock pot so that everyone can choose the amount of sauce they wanted. Garnish with chopped almonds, green onion tops or crunchy Chinese noodles. This dish is so fresh and colorful that it's nice to serve it on really pretty plates. Thanks to Sue Mennear at Hot Flash, Cool Glass, the artist who created the fused glass plates.