Now, due to unexpected shortages in my kitchen I made a couple of revisions and mistakes ... it still came out wonderfully. In fact, this could be called a lesson in both forgiving recipes and adaptation on the fly.
- Remember, you don't have to use a wok. A large frying pan will also work. The higher the edges, the better.
- It calls for 2 pounds of green beans. I forgot that I had to have two pounds of beans for this and used one pound of beans earlier in the week. Oops.
- The green beans should be fresh but I used frozen haricots verts. I figured I probably could do without the browning called for but thought I'd give it a try. I quickly tipped them in and covered the wok to avoid the worst of the spattering. To my amazement, they actually did brown. Ahem ... some of them browned a bit too well as I was distracted by making salad dressing ... but you know, you can fish out the completely burned, charcoal-like beans very easily. No one objects to the very well browned, almost burned beans and said that they added a deep note to the flavor. Thank goodness for easy-going eaters!
- I forgot to get scallions. So we did without.
- With the idea of making it more of a main dish, I doubled the meat called for. Since bison has a wonderful flavor but is quite lean, I used ground bison instead.
- As I was using half the beans and double the meat, I left the sauce proportions alone. I did double the sherry since I doubled the meat.
- Finally, when I went looking for bean sauce in the fridge, there was none to be found. I think that it was a victim of that time a few months ago when the compressor went south and we had several days of living from an ice chest. I forgot to replace that little item ... So I used oyster sauce. And a dab of ground chili sauce.
- REVISITING: we made this again recently with the 2 pounds of fresh green beans and 1 pound of beef. Simply superb. I like a recipe that can adapt so gracefully!
Green Beans with Spicy Beef Sauce
Makes 6 side-dish servings
8 ounces lean ground beef
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons Chinese hot bean sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon black Chinkiang vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
3-1/2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
2 pounds tender young green beans, topped, tailed, strings pulled, and halved on a severe angle.
1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 large clove, minced or crushed through a press
1/4 cup minced whole scallions
- Crumble the ground beef into a medium bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the sherry. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator until needed.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sherry with the cornstarch and stir to dissolve. Stir in the bean sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Stir in the stock; set the sauce aside until needed.
- Place a large wok over high heat and spoon in 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the green beans and stir-fry over high heat until well browned, 3-5 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup water, cover the wok, and cook until the beans are crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter.
- Dry the wok with a paper towel. Return it to high heat and spoon in the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds. Crumble in the beef and stir-fry to brown well, about 1 minute. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir the sauce and add it to the wok. Bring to a boil and cook, tossing, until slightly thickened. Add the beans and toss until heated thoroughly, about 3 minutes. turn out onto a platter and serve hot or warm.