Yup. Chinese food in the slow-cooker!
I was inspired by Lydia over at The Perfect Pantry to try my hand at this crazy mix of flavor and easy cooking method.
And it was easy. She was doing chicken – but I had stew beef in the freezer so that is what I went with. I added some water chestnuts and fresh broccoli florets in the last 30 mins and cooked some rice on the side in my trusty rice cooker and voila! Beef and Broccoli. A fine staple of any Chinese-American restaurant around.
1.5 +/- stew beef
2 Tb finely minced garlic
1 Tb rice vinegar
2 Tsp brown sugar
2 Tsp ginger (fresh, minced is nice; I used dried, powdered)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tsp +/- grated orange zest + the juice of the orange
1/2 Tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
1 Tsp Chinese 5-spice
2/3 cup chicken or beef stock
1 small onion sliced
1 Tbsp Cornstarch or Arrowroot dissolved into 2 Tbsp water
Several “crowns” of fresh broccoli chopped into bite size or 1 small bag of frozen (defrost but don’t cook first)
Combine garlic, vinegar, sugar, ginger, soy sauce, orange zest/juice, black pepper and Chinese 5-spice with a whisk. Pour over meat and onions which you have already placed in the slow cooker. Cook on high 4 hours or so OR low for 6-8 hours. Whisk in the cornstarch or arrowroot slurry about an hour before serving and add the broccoli about 30 mins before serving.
If you wanted a thicker sauce and was feeling like the extra work – you could remove the beef from the slow cooker (without adding the slurry and broccoli yet) strain the sauce and heat it to a boil in a sauce pan. Than you could add the slurry to the sauce, cook for a bit and make it thick and rich. Add everything back in (beef, sauce and now add the broccoli) and serve once the broccoli is cooked to your liking – just keep any eye on the heat so you don’t burn. ( i.e. turn slow-cooker down) This would be great to bring to the office potluck!