Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spicy Orange Zest Beef – It Is What It Is

As I mentioned in the intro, this orange zest beef recipe is not supposed to be Chinese food, or even Americanized Chinese take-out food. Of course, since it’s obviously inspired by those day-glow orange, deep-fried beef nuggets (which may or may not be actual beef), comparisons are inevitable.

While I have no delusions that those crunchy bits would be preferable to most people, especially ones that just stumbled out of a Phish concert, this much-lower-fat alternative is still a quick, easy and perfectly delicious meal.

You’ll want to use a tender beef for this, since the cooking time is only 4-5 minutes. Cheaper cuts like chuck are going to be too tough, unless, of course, you pound it paper-thin, or use some kind of tenderizer. I used sirloin, which worked fine, but ideally you’ll find yourself some beef tenderloin trimmings.

Here’s another instance where you are much better off going to talk to a butcher, rather than a clerk at the supermarket. A real butcher will sell you the scraps produced when a whole tenderloin is trimmed. The meat is cut from something called the “chain” (be sure to use that word to impress the butcher), which is super-tender, and probably half the price.

One last tip: Be sure the beef is VERY well drained before it hits the hot pan. If your meat is wet, it will just boil and steam, and won’t work as well. Of course, if beef isn’t your thing, this will also work with chicken, pork, and…[gulp]…textured vegetable protein. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
1 lb tender beef, ideally trimmed tenderloin scraps
vegetable oil spray, as needed
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Sambal hot chili sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar, or to taste
2 tbsp orange zest
1 bunch green onions
1/4 cup water
1 tsp corn starch
salt and pepper to taste, optional
white rice as needed

View the complete recipe

49 comments:

Casey Kreger said...

why did you add water to the sauce and then corn starch to thicken it? doesn't that cancel each other out?

Anonymous said...

Yum Yum - Thanks Chef John! Jan W

Chef John said...

water is so it doesn't get too thick too fast.

Kir said...

Added generous spoon of grated ginger in mine :)

Jonathan said...

ok nice video but....
who's voice is at 2:32-2:35, 3:54-3:58 and saying in the end ENJOY????

:P very different voice from the rest of the video hehe wierd stuff

Chef John said...

It's just parts of the voice over that were recorded at different times... it's all me ;)

Monica said...

Is it the juice of fresh oranges or can I use the OJ we drink in the morning made from frozen concentrate?

Extra Virgin Chef said...

I did not know a marinade could become sauce. I thought all marinade soaked in raw meat should be discarded.

Chef John said...

As long as it's boiled, it's fine! Not sure where you heard that, but by that logic you would also throw out the meat. I'm pretty sure they meant not to use "raw" marinade.

Chef John said...

Fresh OJ is much better, and you only need like 1 orange! But if you have to you can use frozen.

MattTheBrit said...

You are using zest, just squeeze the orange FFS.

Rita said...

"...not even authentic fake chinese food..."

AHAHHAHAHA! too funny. either way it still looks good and you just gave me an idea what to cook tonite!

how about adding some grand marinier in the marinade?

Daniel W. said...

I made this tonight with a NY cut. Very tasty but it could have used a bit more sweetness in my opinion as it seemed a little tart. Maybe it was the orange i bought. Pic here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dwinning/7026047303

Anonymous said...

Brilliant chef!
today I purchased 1/2 beef eye fillet to make my hubby fillet mignon. Did not know what to do with trimmings. Now I do! Sounds wonderful & will be attempting to make it tomorrow.
Thanks again:)

Chef John said...

Daniel, looks great!

Rita, dont waste your grand marinier in this! Drink it instead. :)

zac said...

I've been watching these videos for a couple years now, and lived in several different apartments and used different stoves, both gas and electric. On any stove I've ever used, the highest setting burns food. I'm using the same amount of oil and preparing the stuff in the same way you do, but it's just too hot. Things turn black and it burns the hell out of the seasonings (especially black pepper). I always use medium high when you say "highest setting" in order to get the same results as you. I don't know if anyone else can relate or if you've heard this complaint before, but here it is nonetheless. Something to think about.

Rita said...

no problem :)

Chef John said...

Zac, unless you have a commercial stove, your high heat is not any higher than mine. The problem is more likely thin pans which don't distribute heat evenly. Are you using nice heavy-duty, thick-bottomed (aka expensive) pans?

zac said...

Aha! Thanks for the response. That's probably the case. My pans are decent, but not horribly thick (except my cast iron which I use all the time...)

Morgan said...

This is an awesome recipe Chef John, but it's really no match for the day-glow orange, deep-fried beef nuggets that you find in Chinese food, or even Americanized Chinese take-out food, (which may or may not be actual beef). I guess the comparisons are inevitable though.

Mitch said...

Hi Chef John,
I was wondering if you could add number of servings for each recipe that you make in the future. I've made many recipes with my friends and most of the time we come up short of food.

Chef John said...

This one makes like 2 large portions, but for most recipes it depends on the portion size, but I guess I could at least guess.

Morgan said...

Good point Mitch, and well made.

Dana B said...

Nice viddo! This looks super good! Question. I now have 40 lbs of elk in the freezer and don't really want to buy any red meat :) Would this work with elk?

Dave said...

Chef John!?? Is that a metal spoon in a nice non-stick pan? You got pretty darn close to that nice finish. ;)

Anonymous said...

to dana b - pretty sure CJ doesn't have access to a lot of elk in SF. why don't you try it and report back to us with your results.

Midori said...

is there a replacement for rice vinegar? :\ or do we have to cook with it? @_@ also do we have to use the hot sauce? can we just delete that form the equation? =] i suffer from acid reflex :[

Anonymous said...

Hello, can i use a diferent vinegar since i dont have rice vinegar.. and if so, how much?

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Chef John! I appreciate all the videos and recipes you crank out all the time! I love how you keep things fresh and new and don't stagnate on one kind of thing, (ie, just beef, just Italian, just dinner recipes, etc.) Variety is the spice of life (freshly ground of course!) Thank you!

Eve said...

I always enjoy your recipe/video clip as well as YOUR TALK! lol, you are hilarious, and i luv it! Please keep up with your fun talk and great recipes! lol ;-)

Curt said...

"Chain" or is it "chine", that you mean?

Chef John said...

Chain

Missy said...

I made this yesterday and loved it but my family thought it was too spicy. I don't know much about peppers could you recommend a hot chili sauce milder than Sambal or should I just use less of it? Thanks!

Aaron said...

Would I be able to use chicken instead of beef with the marinade? I'm not sure how an acidic marinade would work with chicken or what alterations would be needed.

Thanks!

Sarah said...

delicious recipe. I tried that beef when i was in mexico guadallahara bay.
IT was the best dinner i eat ever

Nicholas said...

Delicious! Another success. Thanks.

VIOLAA said...

I will make this only because "it is what it is" made me laugh!

Helen Lee said...

Chef John, if I were to use regular vinegar instead of rice vinegar, how much should I put? Thank you in advance :)

Chef John said...

Hard to say! Best add to taste!

ddddde said...

made this tonight and it was really delicious. substituted sirracha for the chili sauce and it worked out great. also forget i didn't have soy sauce so used balsamic.

thanks chef john! last night i made the garlic shrimp which was also delicious so you are really saving my work week meals.

Wass said...

If you were going to add some vegetables...i think green and red pepper as well as some onions would be great. When would add them? After the beef or removr the beef and cook the veggies then add the beef back again. Thanks in advance.

Chef John said...

Depends on how tender you want them, usually during last 5 minutes if cooking.

Violet Moscovici said...

Hello Chef John,
I 've been a "secluded" admirer for quite some time ( 2-3 years)...actually gets better than that...my husband started to cook only because of you!
...so, I have a question since, I tried myself this mouth-watering recipe: why my meat doesn't get nice and browny like shown on your video...and there's a lot of juice in the pan when I cook the meat?...we tried almost anything I could think of....little meat...different pan...is there a secret you could share with the "mortals"?
Violet

Chef John said...

pan must be very hot before you start, and you need a good strong flame. Cheap stoves can't deliver enough heat (if you have a cheap stove ;)

sa kara said...

love it . great idea

Earl Swenerton said...

Don't crowd your meat, it will just exude liquid and not brown, just steam.
LuisaCA

Charles McGrath said...

I made this again today, it's my wife's favorite beef dish! It gets better every time I make it. Thanks John, you're the best!

Violet Moscovici said...

That's really delicious it is my favorite too...thank you Chef John!