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Japanese-Style Beef Stew

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Makes 4 servings 1x

Time at least an hour

Units Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups chicken stock, water or dashi (see note)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup mirin, honey or sugar
  • 10 nickel-size slices of ginger
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled winter squash (like blue hubbard, butternut, or pumpkin; or use sweet potatoes), cut in 1-inch chunks
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, sear meat until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Transfer chunks to a medium-size casserole.

2. Add the stock to the skillet, and cook over high heat, stirring and scraping until all the solids are integrated into the liquid. Pour into the casserole with soy sauce, mirin, ginger and a couple of grindings of pepper. Peel the lemon, and add the peel to the mixture. Juice the remaining lemon.

3. Cover, and cook on top of the stove (or in a 350°F oven), maintaining a steady simmer. Stir after 30 minutes. Then check the meat every 15 minutes.

4. When the meat is nearly tender, about 45 minutes, stir in squash and continue to cook until squash is tender but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary, then stir in lemon juice. Serve.

Note: To make dashi, you need two ingredients that are probably not in your pantry: kelp, a seaweed; and dried bonito flakes. Both are sold in Japanese markets, where kelp is called kombu. You can also find kelp at any health food store. The process is simple: immerse a four-inch piece of kelp in two cups of water and warm it over low heat (do not boil) for about 10 minutes. Add a handful—about half a cup is right—of bonito flakes and turn off the heat. Let it sit for a few minutes, then strain.

— Adapted from Mark’s recipe in the New York Times