Weeknight Dinners

Beef Thai Basil

I love Asian cuisine, if it were up to me, we would have it for dinner every night. While in NY, you can get take-out anywhere, then I moved to Shreveport and it got a little limited, but I was still able to find some decent places. But after we moved to Minot, GOOD Asian take-out is pretty much nonexistent. So I had to look up some recipes to try to cook at home. Some were hit or miss, while others like this recipe were a keeper!

If you are looking for a simple, yet filling weeknight dish, this is your answer. For a while we were making this recipe once a week. I originally came across this dish on Epicurious under their “low-calorie main” category, but we have made this so many times, we developed our own take on it. The original recipe is having the cooked beef with a salad on top. I didn’t think that was as fun, so I ended up cooking the veggies at the end. This dish has a lot of heat in it, but you can adjust that by leaving out the jalapeño. You can also change up the beef; we have tried ground turkey and even bison, which was pretty delicious, if you can find it. You really can’t tell the difference. We normally use 80% lean beef, but if you want to go with 93%, you may need to add a little more soy sauce at the end, the beef was a tiny bit dry. For the vegetarians out there, you can even try meat free ground “beef”. I never tried it, but I am pretty sure it would work, you will just need to adjust the cooking time.

This is a fairly easy prep; With any dish, I recommend reading the ENTIRE recipe before you start cooking. Then you want to prep whatever you can beforehand, so you don’t have to scramble around while you are cooking. Scrambling around = chaos + crying…Food prep really does make a smooth, stress-free process when making any dish.

First thing you want to do is make the rice, I recommend using jasmine, which is an aromatic, long grain rice. I use this type of rice 90% of the time when cooking, even when I make Mexican cilantro lime rice. Sometimes its hard to find basmati rice here, so I just use jasmine. We usually make enough rice for 5 servings, which is 1.5 cups of rice and 12 ounces of water, this guarantees enough rice for leftovers the next day.

Then you make the sauce which is the soy and fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Make sure the sugar is stirred in well. The sauce is ready once the sugar is completely dissolved. This dish was the first time I ever used fish sauce; I was surprised how easy it was to find in the supermarkets up here. Please don’t be afraid of it because of it’s name “fish sauce” you don’t use a lot of it, but it really does add such great flavor to the dish.

In the next prep bowl add the sliced garlic and half the crush red pepper. I love dishes that have sliced garlic as opposed to minced or chopped; I am a huge garlic fan and you get that big garlic taste in each bite with sliced. Then you prep the veggie mix, which is carrots, scallions, basil, sliced jalapeño, the oil, lime juice and more crushed red pepper. Yup lots of heat! But again you can adjust the heat but omitting the jalapeño, I recommend at least keeping the crushed red pepper.

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After all the prep, all that you really have to do next is cook everything in a large pan. We use a non-stick pan, which is much easier clean up and you get a really good crispness on that beef. Cook the garlic, then beef until cooked through and crisp, you want brown bits in there, so don’t rush it. If you use 80% lean beef, you may have to drain any excess fat, that is the key that will help the beef brown, you don’t want it swimming in the fat juice (that sounds really gross). Next add the broth and half the basil, you want the basil to break down a bit. After just add the veggie mix and sauce, and cook until the carrots are a little tender. Then you are ready to serve!

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Top the cooked rice with the beef thai basil mix, a squeeze of a little lime and if you want add some more heat, with the Sriracha. I don’t normally feel the need to add extra soy sauce, but if you want it, add it and enjoy!

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Beef Thai Basil with Steamed Rice
Serves 4

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Veggie Mix:
2 medium carrots, julienned
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, sliced in rounds with seeds
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
.75 ounces basil leaves
1 tablespoons vegetable oil

Beef Mix:
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
24 ounces ground beef, 80% lean
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
.75 ounces basil leaves

Additional items for serving:
Steamed rice, lime wedges, Sriracha sauce, soy sauce

Cook rice according to instructions on package.
For the sauce:
Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
For the veggie mix:
Toss carrots, scallions, jalapeño rounds, lime juice, crushed red pepper, basil leaves, and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Set aside.
For the Beef Mix:
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add sliced garlic and crushed red pepper cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds, do not let the garlic burn.
Add beef, season with salt and pepper. Break the beef up with a spoon, until cooked through and nicely crisped in spots, about 10 minutes, drain any excess fat if needed.
Add broth and basil, stir until basil is wilted, about 2 minutes.
Add veggie and sauce mixture. Stir to combine and cook until carrots are just tender.
To serve, top rice with beef thai basil mix, along with lime wedges, Sriracha and soy sauce if desired.


Beef Thai Basil
Beef Thai Basil

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