Sunday, January 17, 2010

beef, broccoli & mushroom stir-fry

Stir-fry, pizza and risotto are three of my favourite things to make for dinner. It is the best way to cook odd vegetables that sitting in the fridge and they are meals that allow for tons of creativity. I call these three dishes the refrigerator cleaners and I mean that in the best possible sense!

For stir-fry, I always have rice noodles (preferably brown rice noodles) and gluten free tamari in my house so I can cook something quick and easy. I may purchase chicken, beef, bok choy or seasonal vegetables to add to my basics. I have a chicken recipe that has a slightly more complex sauce and will post later but for a quick weekday meal beef, broccoli and mushroom stir-fry is a perfect dinner.

When I went gluten free, I was surprised by all the hidden wheat, barley, oats and rye in foods and especially sauces. I have always been a fan of teriyaki sauce and soy sauce and wasn't sure how I could flavour my meals now that these items were off limits. After a few weeks of eating plain vegetables and meat, I knew I had to find a solution.

Have you heard of tamari? I did not know what is was or how it was different from soy suace when I first started reading about making my own sauces and salad dressings. It is apparently made with more soy beans than soy sauce resulting in a thicker product. Traditionally, it is not made with wheat but many brands thicken it with wheat so buyer beware.

I use Amano tamari that is labeled wheat free on the green label. Amano also makes a blue labeled tamari that contains wheat so read carefully. Nothing worse than cooking a great meal and realizing you contaminated it yourself!

If you do not have cornstarch, rice flour should work just as well to thicken your sauce. Cornstarch is a great thickener and is not expensive so you may want to invest in some for future cooking. Otherwise, rice flour or potato flour work well for this purpose.

Beef, Broccoli & Mushroom Stir Fry

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons gluten free tamari
2 garlic cloves (or more if you are an extreme garlic lover like I am)
1 inch piece of ginger root peeled and finely chopped
12 oz lean beef, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
salt & pepper
brown rice noodles (or brown rice)

Soak the rice noodles in hot water. It does not need to be boiling water. Let soak for 8 - 10 minutes and then drain and set aside.

Blend the cornstarch with the tamari in a small bowl.

Heat the oil in a wok, add the beef, garlic and ginger and stir-fry over a medium heat until the beef is browned all over.

Add the red pepper, broccoli and mushrooms and stir-fry until the vegetables are just tender.

Add the cornstarch mixture and salt and pepper to taste than cook until the sauce thickens.

Add rice noodles to the wok and mix with the meat and vegetables. Serve immediately.

If serving with rice instead of noodles, serve the stir-fry over the cooked rice.

Be creative. Change the vegetables with your other seasonal favourites...zuchini, green or yellow peppers, bok choy, various types of mushrooms, or cauliflower. I like to choose vegetables that make the meal more colourful but choose what is in season and what you love for the best results!


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