Beef and Broccoli has always been my go-to order at Chinese restaurants. Since cleaning up my food choices, though, I’ve found that it’s become an “unsafe” meal for me. It’s often loaded with MSG. It also contains gluten, which is non-negotiable in my diet. Thankfully, you can make a restaurant worthy Beef and Broccoli at home. It even makes for a quick, weeknight meal.
Beef and Broccoli at home begins with the right cut of beef. Generally, a flank steak, skirt steak, top round, sirloin tip, or chuck steak would make a good choice for stir-fry. If you choose something fattier like a chuck steak, you’ll want to remove as much fat as possible before slicing. With any cut, you want to slice against the grain in narrow slices. I find that freezing a thawed steak for 60 minutes allows the steak to firm up. With a firm steak, you can easily cut precise, narrow slices. Use a very sharp knife.
Slice the meat as thin as possible using a very sharp knife.
Begin by removing any large pieces of fat.
To slice the meat very thin, place your thawed cut into the freezer for an hour. The beef will be a bit more firm and slice without squishing or slipping.
Beef and Broccoli is known for its sweet and thick sauce. Traditionally, this is achieved with brown sugar and soy sauce as primary flavors. Soy sauce contains gluten, so I use a soy alternative. Gluten Free options include Tamari sauce, coconut aminos, and “No Soy” sauce, which is made from kelp and mushrooms. I’ve found that I prefer the flavor of “No Soy” above all others, so I use it exclusively. Since I don’t keep brown sugar as a pantry staple anymore, I make Beef and Broccoli with Coconut Sugar and Molasses as sweeteners.
For a speedy cooking process, it’s helpful to gather all of the ingredients ahead of searing the beef.
To thicken the Beef and Broccoli sauce, I use arrowroot powder as opposed to cornstarch or flour. A little arrowroot goes a long way. Too much will make the sauce gummy rather than thick and caramel like. Never add arrowroot powder directly to a heated sauce. Rather, whisk it into a few tablespoons of cold stock or water before adding it to the sauce. This helps to avoid clumps. Once arrowroot clumps up in a heated sauce, it’s nearly impossible to mix thoroughly.
When searing the meat, do not cook in piles, rather allow each piece to touch the bottom of the pan. After flipping, you can push cooked meat to the side of the pan to make room for the next batch.
Once all of the beef is cooked through, remove it temporarily from the pan. It will be added back after the sauce is made, the broccoli is cooked, and after the sauce is thickened.
You can really pump up the flavor of your Beef and Broccoli by using fresh aromatics. I love fresh ginger and garlic, so use those liberally. Fresh green onions would also make a nice addition when presenting a plate. I don’t generally use sliced onions in my beef and broccoli, but some recipes call for them. If you like them, add them. The same goes for sweet peppers.
As always, enjoy the recipe. Adapt and make it your own.
Gluten Free Beef and Broccoli
– large pan
– 1-2 lbs flank steak, skirt steak, top round, sirloin tip, or chuck steak (see notes above)
– 2 tbsp sesame oil or other cooking oil of choice
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
– 4 large garlic cloves, minced
– 1-2 inches fresh ginger, grated
– 3 tbsp coconut sugar
– 1 tbsp molasses
– 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
– 2/3 c soy sauce alternative (I recommend “No Soy” sauce)
– 1 c beef stock, divided (3/4 c, then 1/4 c)
– 1 1/2 tbsp arrowroot powder
1. Wash and cut the broccoli crowns. Mince the garlic and grate the fresh ginger. Gather all other ingredients and keep close at hand.
2. Slice the beef against the grain as thin as your knife allows. (See notes above.) Sprinkle the beef slices with sea salt and ground white pepper.
3. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the oil when the pan is hot. Sear the beef, flipping each piece to cook all the way through. Move cooked beef to the side of the pan and add new pieces a little at a time. Each piece of beef should touch the bottom of the pan. Actively searing beef should not be cooked in piles.
4. Once all the beef is cooked through, temporarily remove it from the pan.
5. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger to the pan. If the pan is dry or burning, add a dash of the soy alternative to wet the pan. Cook until the garlic and ginger are fragrant.
6. Add the coconut sugar, molasses, red pepper flakes, soy sauce alternative, and 3/4 c of the beef stock, stirring to combine. Turn the heat down and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes.
7. Add the broccoli to the sauce in the pan. Cook 5-10 minutes. (I like my broccoli to be bright green with a bit of crunch in the stem. I cook it for about 5 minutes.)
8. While the broccoli is cooking, place the arrowroot into a small dish and and pour in the other 1/4 c beef stock. Stir to combine. Be sure there are no clumps.
9. When the broccoli is mostly done, pour the arrowroot mixture into the sauce. Stir to thicken.
10. Add the cooked beef back to the pan. Stir to coat all of the beef and reheat the meat thoroughly.
11. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or green onions.
Here on SpringForestFarm.com, Jennifer Taylor Schmidt writes beef recipes for the busy, natural homemaker. It is possible to seek optimal health with limited time and money. Join Jennifer in future posts as she explores the possibilities found in a 1/4 and a 1/2 beeve. You can also find her thoughts and personal health journey on RealFoodRealHealing.com.
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