Coconut Braised Beef Print Email

2 hot dried red chilies
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
Juice and zest of 2 limes, or 2 tablespoons rice or other mild vinegar
2 tablespoons corn, grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 1/2 pounds beef, preferably chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups coconut milk (or 1 can, about 1 1/2 cups, plus 1/2 cup water)
Salt to taste

Put chilies, garlic, ginger, chili powder, lime juice and zest in bowl of a food processor, and process until everything is minced, or mince by hand and combine.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a skillet that can later be covered. Add spice paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add beef, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and covered with sauce.

Pour in coconut milk, and bring mixture to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer, stirring only occasionally (but making sure mixture is simmering very slowly, with just a few bubbles at a time breaking the surface) until meat is extremely tender, at least an hour and possibly closer to 2.

Uncover and cook until sauce is very thick and caramel-colored, stirring frequently so it does not brown. Season to taste with salt, and serve with white rice.
Yield: 4 servings

Source: The New York Times
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
All braised chuck recipes require time. There are ways to devote this time and still keep life simple: braise the food in a slow oven (300 degrees, more or less), which eliminates some of the need for occasional stirring. Or use a Crock-Pot (slow-cooker), which can produce terrific results, but in even more time, usually six hours plus. No matter what technique you use, if you rush the cooking, the meat will be disappointingly chewy.