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Thai Red Curry Beef

Most Thai cooks use bottled curry paste mixtures that make preparing fragrant curries like this one incredibly fast and easy. Serve this liberally sauced dish with steamed jasmine rice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lb. lean stewing beef, such as chuck or round, cut
      into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste
  • 2 cans (each 13 1/2 fl. oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cans (each 8 oz.) sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

Directions:

Place the beef in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Working in batches if necessary, sauté the beef until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the curry paste and stir until it is fragrant and coats the onion and garlic, about 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom with a wooden spoon. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar and bring to a boil.

Stovetop method: Transfer the beef to a large Dutch oven and add the coconut milk mixture. Partially cover the pot, set over low heat and cook until the beef is very tender and the sauce is thick but still fluid, about 2 hours. About 15 minutes before the beef is done, stir the bamboo shoots into the curry.

Slow-cooker method: Transfer the beef to a slow cooker and add the coconut milk mixture. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the beef is very tender and the sauce is thick but still fluid, about 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. About 5 minutes before the beef is done, stir the bamboo shoots into the curry.

Spoon the curry onto warmed individual plates or into a large serving bowl. Garnish with the mint and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking, by Melanie Barnard, Charles Pierce & Dennis Kelly (Oxmoor House, 2008).