I cannot begin to tell you how much I luuurve this dish, shared with me years ago by Jacob’s cousin Lars, a fellow gentleman farmer and no stranger to culinary tour de force himself (he most recently cured and dried a ham from one of his pigs into homemade prosciutto).
Anyhow, this stir-fry is quick, easy, uses sub par pieces of meat, and every kind of veggie that might be languishing in your fridge or exploding in your garden, making it a perfect late-summer fare here in Wisconsin. Ginger-lime marinade flavors the meat nicely and is later used as a finishing sauce, so nothing goes to waste. It works equally well with both beef and venison in a whole variety of cuts, as long as you trim off all fat, gristle, and connective tissue, and cut the meat very thinly against the grain (down to approximately 1/4″).
In this particular case I went with beef round steak, which is a large, lean, tough piece from the steer’s hind leg (I believe). This piece works well for braising and for making jerky but absolutely cannot be slapped directly onto the grill due to it coming from a well-exercised muscle (and because it is so lean, it is not good for stews either, where it tends to dry out). Since round steak is already cut against the grain by the butcher, I found that the best way to slice it is to cut it into 3/4″ strips, and then slice each strip crosswise. My steak was approximately 3/4″ thick, so I sliced each strip three times crosswise. If you are using round steak, trim off the thick layer of fat that runs around the perimeter and also between the individual sections of the steak. Round steak comes with a cross-section of a marrow bone in the center – the marrow can be pushed out of the bone and thrown in with the rest of the meat.
Ginger-Lime Beef or Venison Stir-Fry
- 1 lb venison or a lean cut of beef (round, flank, or skirt steak will do – cut flank and skirt steak very thinly against the grain; cut round steak into 3/4″ strips, and then cut each strip crosswise into 1/4″ slices)
For the marinade:
- 2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 C tamari sauce (fermented soy sauce)
- 1/4 C red wine
- a squirt of lime juice (an equivalent of 1 lime)
- 1 t cornstarch
- 1 hot pepper, such as jalapeno, minced (this is optional – it came with the original recipe, but I skip it, personally)
For the stir-fry:
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled and cut into chunks
- a handful of frying greens (chard, collard, kale, beet greens, or even sorrel – my fave), chopped very coarsely
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 2 C asparagus/broccoli/green beans/snow peas or another hard-ish vegetable like that – I like to divide broccoli into smaller florets, while leaving snow peas whole and cutting asparagus and green beans into 1″ chunks
- oil, for frying
- 5-6 C cooked rice of your choice (I like plain white basmati rice, and I like to make it in a rice cooker, but if you need to do it on the stove-top, use 1 part white rice to 2 parts cold water, cover the pot, and cook over low heat until all the water has been absorbed).
An hour before you wish to eat, prepare the marinade. Slice the meat and place it in marinade.
While the meat is marinating, chop all the vegetables.
Heat oil in a wok or another wide, shallow pan over medium-high heat. Remove the meat from marinade and sear it in batches, stirring continuously, just until it loses its pink color and plumps up (this is especially important with tougher pieces of meat, such as round steak), approximately 5 seconds (do not crowd the meat!!). Return the meat to marinade (we’ll be cooking the meat and the marinade later on to avoid cross-contamination).
Add more oil to the wok and add the vegetables in the following order: garlic, onions, broccoli, green peppers, and greens, allowing a few minutes in between each addition. When everything is just tender, return the meat and the marinade to the wok. Allow the liquid to come to a simmer, add the tomatoes, and toss everything once or twice. Remove from heat and serve over the prepared rice. Bring the bottle of tamari to the table so everyone can drizzle some on top if desired.