back to the soup kettle we go
23 May 2011 2 Comments
Well kids, I have good news and bad news. Good news? To the best of my knowledge, no one was raptured away this weekend. The bad? The Padres are in the cellar and we are forecast for yet another week of unseasonably cool and drizzly weather. I AM RUNNING LOW ON WAYS TO MAKE SOUP, PEOPLE.
Lucky for me, I was poking around the web yesterday and came across a New York Times article by Jane Sigal on shaved steak. Any fan of beef in brodo, shabu-shabu, or phở will recognize this razor thin cut of beef that cooks almost instantly when dropped into hot broth. The extreme thinness of the meat not only makes it a snap to cook, but also keeps the meat ultra tender while frugally adding tons of body to a simple soup. As Sigal points out, this is a very forgiving cut and a good choice for a novice home cook – “foolproof,” in fact. Having made this at home, the meat does come out remarkably tender and with a lot of volume for a small amount of meat.
I haven’t noticed many butcher counters in San Diego selling the steak pre-shaved, but this is an easy, inexpensive technique to do at home. Simply purchase an inexpensive cut of beef, such as top or bottom round, and freeze it for an hour or two until it is very firm but not frozen solid. Using a sharp knife, make “handkerchief-thin” cuts (1/16- and 1/8-inch) across the grain. If the meat starts to get too soft to cut, simply return it to the freezer for 15 minutes, then continue making your cuts.
The sliced meat can be used in the great recipes accompanying the article (Mexican-Style Pepper Steak, Glazed Beef-and-Scallion Rolls, Beef Involtini With Grape Tomato Sauce), beef in brodo (simply hot beef broth poured over raw shaved steak) or in any hearty soup to fight off the May Gray (or June Gloom). I threw together a Peruano Bean Soup with Steak and Cumin – a spicy vegetable soup redolent of cumin and chile, thick with beef, beans, and spice – sure to brighten any day and make you think of warmer weather!