Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir-fry

Ingredients for Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

Searing the beef

Colorful, mildly sweet and spicy beef

Most of you know that I have been making jam for a little while now.  This is something I learned from my awesome sister-in-law, Jeanne while visiting her up in Northern California.  After getting down the basics, I decided to try making jam with uncommon fruits.  Uncommon to jam-making , that is.    Since my mother loves persimmons I chose that to be my first step in canning outside of the box. 
I have gone beyond persimmons since then and I’ll share my adventures in future posts.  This Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir Fry is one of the first recipes my son, Toby, and I have collaborated on.  Most of the ingredients as well as the technique are basic, but the addition of chile pepper flakes and persimmon jam gives this dish an updated exciting taste.
Spicy Persimmon & Ginger Beef Stir Fry
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, mince
½  teaspoon chile pepper flakes, or more to taste
2 lbs London broil or other lean cut of beef
3 medium carrots peeled, sliced diagonally
½ cup rice wine
1 leek, white and light green parts sliced ¼” horizontally
1 cup sliced green onions
8 tablespoons Hummingbird Hill Persimmon Jam
On high heat saute√© garlic, ginger and chile pepper flakes until fragrant.  Add beef and let cook until just a little bit pink.  Allow juices to evaporate, or remove with a spoon, leaving no more than 1 tablespoon.  Add carrots and 1 ½ tablespoons rice wine.  Stir fry until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Add leeks and scallions.  Add more rice wine if meat and vegetables begin sticking to pan.  Add 8 tablespoons Hummingbird Hill Persimmon Jam and stir to coat beef slices.  Cook another 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.
I used a cut of beef called London Broil because it is lean and uniform in size but any other lean cut will work.  Placing the beef in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to slicing and using a very sharp knife aids in achieving thin slices.  The essence of stir frying is to cook food very quickly over high heat.  Thus it is imperative to have all the ingredients ready and prepped beforehand, and have them lined up close to the wok.  As soon as the wok is very hot, pour a thin line of room temperature oil down the side of the wok.  Saut√©eing the dry aromatic ingredients like garlic, ginger and chile pepper flakes first infuses the oil which will later flavor the meat.  Toby, in his artistic and perhaps Le Cordon Bleu-trained way laid the beef slices one by one flat against the wall of wok to sear them.  Chinese cooks would probably toss the whole lot into the wok!  When Toby saw that there seemed to be a lot of juice from the beef accumulating at the bottom of the wok, he removed most of it to prevent the meat from steaming.  We want them seared after all! 
You will notice that my carrots are crinkly.  I use a crinkle cutter to add dimension and texture to my vegetables.  The crevices are also a good place for the yummy sauce to cling to.  Although this is a stir-fry, liquid is added to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the wok.  Rather than using water, I use alcohol or broth to add flavor.  And finally, the jam is added last to prevent it from caramelizing too much and burning in the hot wok. 
None of the flavors overpowered each other; everything came together well.  The persimmon jam’s sweetness is the first to hit your taste buds, followed by rich beefy flavor tempered by the sweet leeks, and then you get little (or a lot!) explosions from the chile pepper flakes.  You calm your mouth down with steamed white rice, and then it craves more of that scrumptious flavor, and the cycle starts all over again. 
Stay tuned to more recipes using our extraordinary jams. 
What would you use Hummingbird Hill Persimmon Jam for?

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