Ordering a takeout meal from your neighborhood Chinese restaurant is always a special treat. Whether you typically opt for vegetable fried rice or crispy egg rolls, enjoying these rich dishes in the comfort of your own home means you don't have to perform the extra work of recreating these flavors yourself. If you enjoy specialty dishes like beef and broccoli, however, we have good news for you: There's an easy way for you to make this delicious dish with the help of a slow cooker.
A traditional restaurant-style beef and broccoli dish is made with a combination of tender strips of beef and broccoli covered in a rich brown sauce made of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. When cooking this meal in a skillet, a tender cut of meat should be used, such as flat-iron steak, but with the power of a slow cooker, flank or skirt steak are sufficient alternatives. The low temperature of your slow cooker will break down these tougher cuts of meat into delicious tender strips. The only time-consuming part about making this dish is preparing the beef and sauce-specific ingredients to go into the slow cooker. Luckily, you can complete this prep work a day or even a few hours in advance.
How To Make Quick And Delicious Beef And Broccoli In Your Slow Cooker
To make slow cooker beef and broccoli, set aside some time the morning before serving to slice or cube your beef and measure out your sauce ingredients. Then, compile everything directly in your slow cooker and make sure your beef is evenly coated with the sauce ingredients. Or, even better, the night before you plan on serving this meal, add your sliced steak to a resealable plastic bag along with the water, brown sugar, soy sauce, chopped garlic, and ginger, and allow the mixture to marinate in your refrigerator overnight. The next morning, all you'll need to do is dump the prepared ingredients into your slow cooker. From there, you can turn on the slow cooker and allow it to cook your steak until it's perfectly tender.
The tenderizing process can take as long as seven hours at the low setting to three or four hours at the high setting. When it's done cooking, remove the steak from the slow cooker and gently pull it apart. To thicken the remaining sauce in the slow cooker, you can simply add a small combination of cornstarch and water and let it cook on high for 15 minutes. Then, add the meat back in, along with fresh or thawed broccoli florets, and allow the ingredients to cook all together for another 15 minutes. You can prepare rice to serve with the dish in the meantime. Once you perfect this simple recipe, you can try adding a multitude of ingredients to add more color and texture to the meal, or even try a more complex variation of this simple sauce.
How To Easily Upgrade Slow Cooker Beef And Broccoli
While making slow cooker beef and broccoli is simple enough, there are various ways you can elevate the flavor of this dish. When preparing the sauce, instead of using water, try subbing in beef broth for a more savory, developed taste. Moreover, you might consider adding a tablespoon of sesame oil to give the sauce a more distinct Asian-inspired flavor. If you're feeling extra adventurous, add in a bit of Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry. The distinct taste of fermented grapes will add more complexity to this one-of-a-kind dish.
Apart from playing around with the sauce base, you can also add extra vegetables or a few delicious toppings to make your beef and broccoli a real crowd-pleaser. Try adding peppers and mushrooms to bulk up your vegetable intake. Extra veggies can be added right behind the fresh broccoli within the final hour of the cooking process. You can also get out your skillet to toast some sesame seeds. In just a handful of minutes, you'll have a crunchy and tasty garnish. Feel free to also try garnishing with chopped green onions. Thanks to the convenience of your slow cooker, you can play around with this recipe to find the right combination of ingredients to match your taste preferences.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.