This week I am blogging about hearty foods the cool weather makes us crave.
This is truly an almost endless list, but up near the top I have got to put Vietnamese-style beef stew.
If you have never tried it before, you are absolutely missing the proverbial boat. It is just a bit spicy, with notes of Chinese five spice, lemongrass, star anise and ginger. The rich sauce is lovely and made even better with the tender chunks of beef, hearty carrots, green onions and cilantro.
A note of caution: The Vietnamese are fond of cooking with what Chef Anthony Bourdain refers to as the nasty bits. I love everything in this beef stew, but if you are squeamish, just push to the side things you do not recognize.
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But now I am going to waffle. This is not a dish for the average home cook to prepare. Visit one of our many Vietnamese restaurants, or, and I can't believe I am saying this, go to the Asian market and buy a packet of the prepared mix. All you will need is the mix and a pound or two of boneless beef chuck. Serve it with crusty French bread.