Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sichuan Beef Stew

This fall my family all split 1/4 of a cow from our school district's agriculture program. We are supporting Future Farmers of America and our cow was a grass fed, happy cow. Not only that, the price per pound was less the $3!!  There is MORE then enough to keep 3 households in beef for a year.

Before buying the meat I rarely cooked with beef, sometimes a steak for the grill, but that was about all. Now I am learning how to cook all different cuts (including ox tail - can't wait to try that out! Any recipe suggestions?)

Along with steak cuts we also received quite a few pounds of stew meat. Normally I am not a fan of stew. It is hardy and simply, but often I just find the flavor boring. Last week I put stew on the menu list, thinking it would be a great "back to work" meal for us. Then inspiration struck at the bulk spice counter. I saw Sichuan peppercorns. I feel in love with this numbing spice at Lucky Strike, a local Sichuan restaurant. I decided to try my hand at a flavorful stew that would highlight the peppercorns but not be too spicy.

I have to admit, I hit on a winner. The ginger, peppercorns, and garlic all provide a deep flavor base for the meat. The flavor is intense but not spicy. This was spooned over bowls of white rice with a side of sauteed broccolli. Our only complaint was that there wasn't enough sauce - I this would be remedied by doubling the water added to the pot or adding more as it was cooking.

 Sichuan Beef Stew
1 1/2  teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced into coins
1/2 teaspoon five spice mix
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 1/2 lb stew beef
1 cup dried shitake mushrooms, broken up into pieces
1/3 cup rice wine
1/4 cup soy
2 cups water

Heat oven to 300 degrees

1. Heat a large, oven safe, lidded cast pot (I have a version of this pot) over medium, high heat. Add vegetable oil. When oil is hot add Sichuan peppercorns, 5 spice, onion and garlic. Saute 1-2 minutes or until very fragrant.
2. Add beef. Brown beef on all sides.
3. Add mushrooms and liquids. Cover and put in oven.
4. Stir once an hour, adding more water if looking dry. Cook about 3 hours or until meat is tender.
5. If you want to make it saucier, when you remove pot from oven add a bit more (1/2 cup total?) soy, rice wine and water to pot. Using a wooden spoon scrap all the delicious browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Serve over rice.

Other Sichuan Peppercorn Recipe


  1. Future Farmers of America sounds like a great program. We need more like that around the world. The stew looks just delicious.

  2. This beef stew looks delicious.

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