Bò Lúc Lăc (Shaking Beef)
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Vietnam’s bò lúc la ̆ c, or shaking beef, combines savory stir-fried beef and a peppery, crisp watercress salad. We used sirloin steak tips (aka flap meat) for their beefy flavor and pleasant chewy texture. We first marinated the meat in a mixture of soy sauce, fish sauce, and molasses and then reserved the marinade to make the glaze. We coated the meat with oil (to prevent splattering) and then cooked it in two batches to give it ample room in the skillet. True to the dish’s name, we shook and
stirred the beef to develop good browning and to deglaze the skillet, which prevented the fond from burning. After setting aside the meat, we lightly softened a red onion in butter, added the reserved marinade (along with garlic, water, and cornstarch) to the skillet, and cooked it down to a glossy consistency. We coated the meat with the sauce and then placed it atop the watercress, which had been lightly dressed with a mixture of lime juice and pepper (the rest of which served as a dipping sauce for the meat).
1 (31⁄2- to 4-pound) boneless pork butt roast,
trimmed and cut into 11⁄2-inch pieces, trimmings reserved
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 cup water
11⁄2 pounds tomatillos, husks and stems removed, rinsed well and dried
5 poblano chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges through root end
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed and halved
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 cup minced fresh cilantro, plus extra for serving
1. Toss pork pieces with1 tablespoon salt in large bowl. Cover and
refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, chop pork trimmings coarse. Transfer to
Dutch oven. Add water and bring to simmer over high heat. Cook, adjusting
heat to maintain vigorous simmer and stirring occasionally, until all liquid
evaporates and trimmings begin to sizzle, about 12 minutes. Continue
to cook, stirring frequently, until dark fond forms on bottom of pot and
trimmings have browned and crisped, about 6 minutes longer. Using slotted
spoon, discard trimmings. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat; set aside pot.
2. Adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 6 inches from
broiler element and heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum
foil. Place tomatillos, poblanos, onion, garlic, and jalapeño on prepared sheet
and drizzle with oil. Arrange chiles skin side up. Broil until chile skins are
blackened and vegetables begin to soften, 10 to 13 minutes, rotating sheet
halfway through broiling. Transfer poblanos, jalapeño, and garlic to cutting
3. Turn off broiler and heat oven to 325 degrees. Transfer tomatillos, onion, and
any accumulated juices to food processor. When poblanos, jalapeño, and garlic
are cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins (it’s OK if some small bits
of chile skin remain). Remove seeds from jalapeño and reserve. Add poblanos,
jalapeño, and garlic to processor. Pulse until mixture is roughly pureed, about
10 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. If spicier chili is desired, add
reserved jalapeño seeds and pulse 3 times.
4. Heat reserved fat in Dutch oven over medium heat until just shimmering.
Add oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves and cook, stirring constantly,
until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatillo mixture, bay leaves, sugar,
pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in
pork and bring to simmer. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until pork is
tender, about 11⁄2 hours, stirring halfway through cooking.
5. Remove pot from oven and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Discard bay
leaves. Using heatproof rubber spatula, scrape browned bits from sides of pot.
Stir in any fat that has risen to top of chili. Stir in cilantro; season with salt
and pepper to taste. Serve, passing lime wedges and extra cilantro separately.
Photo credit: Carl Tremblay