Stir-Frying with Beef

Stir-frying is a simple and easy meal for anyone who is on the run.

Stir-frying is a simple and easy meal for anyone who is on the run.

Whether you are on the go and need a quick and easy meal or have leftover veggies that need to be used, stir-frying is a simple and easy preparation method that also allows you to get creative with flavors and spices. It has quickly become one of my personal favorite methods of cooking beef recently because it is so simple and quick. Here are some tips for stir-frying at home.

Preparation is key for stir-frying. Although the actual cooking is very short, take some time to prepare by slicing the steak into thin, uniform strips. Remember to cut against the grain of the meat for the best eating experience. Toss the strips in a marinade or add a light spice rub, keeping in mind stir-fry doesn’t have to include Asian flavors (try garlic and pesto for Italian stir-fry!). While the meat is marinating, chop up the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Stir-frying is versatile. Add a little (or a lot) of anything and everything!

Stir-frying is versatile. Add a little (or a lot) of anything and everything!

Stir-Fry is sizzling…really. The key to a good stir-fry is high heat. So while chopping vegetables, place a wok or skillet on high heat. Fast tip: don’t heat the wok on the highest heat setting so when you add the beef or veggies you can turn it up to compensate for the cooling. When you are finished chopping vegetables and marinating the beef, place a little oil in the wok. The oil should shimmer if the pan is hot enough.

Cook in batches. Don’t toss all of your beef in the pan at once, but instead cook in ½ pound batches or smaller. Overcrowding the pan won’t put a nice sear on the meat and may end up steaming instead of stir-frying. Cook the beef for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the outside is brown and remove from the pan and place to the side. At this point the beef shouldn’t be quite finished cooking. Stir-fry the veggies until they are tender/firm enough for personal taste then add the beef and stir-fry sauce to the pan. If the sauce is too runny, add some cornstarch to thicken it.

Frozen vegetables were made for stir-fry. I’m personally no whiz in the kitchen and the less prep work I have to do the better. Frozen vegetables are a quick by-pass to chopping vegetables by hand and can be cooked from frozen or thawed. Look for stir-fry blends (many include stir-fry sauce packets) or just purchase veggies you like and make a custom blend.

Frozen veggie mixes save prep-time and come in many varieties.

Frozen veggie mixes save prep-time and come in many varieties.

Stir-frying is quick and easy and is the perfect meal for anyone on the go. Although there is a little prep time up front, stir-frying is without a doubt a 30-minute or less meal and is extremely versatile. Try using different cuts of beef, different flavors and sauces, and new vegetable mixes to mix things up.

Will Pohlman

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