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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lewd Crockpot Beef

I went shopping today without a real meal plan...not unprecedented, but definitely not common.  I picked up a few cuts of meat that were on manager's special (sounds better than "bargain bin beef", doesn't it? LOL) and figured I'd figure out what to do with them when I got home. 

So Surprise Dinner #1: Crockpot Chinese Looed Beef.  Looed is pronounced "lewd", much to my husband's giggly delight.  Looing is, according to the Frugal Gourmet, a Chinese method of cooking wherein meat is slowly simmered in a flavorful cooking liquid which can be reused for subsequent looing sessions.  Sounds like a perfect recipe for the crockpot to me. 

Star anise is a vital ingredient in this sauce. It is really an unmatched flavoring agent in Chinese cooking. It isn't quite the same as aniseed or fennel seed, though they are similar in flavor. If you can't find whole star anise, use 1 tsp of ground anise or 1 tsp of five spice powder.

Looing sauce, ready to reuse,
labelled with reuse instructions on the lid
The traditional handling of the looing sauce (according to the Frug) is to combine all ingredients for an initial cooking session, cook the meat (pork, poultry, game, beef or lamb, but never fish) in the sauce by simmering it gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, then strain it and refrigerate it until the next cooking session.  Bring it to a boil before using it again.  Each piece of meat cooked in the sauce imparts its own flavor and enrichens the sauce.  Fish OTOH will wreck the flavor...you can loo fish, but only once.  Eventually you will need to top up the sauce to return it to original levels. 

I've adapted the Frug's recipe to take into account how little liquid is needed in crockpot cooking and to ensure that the sauce can be stored in a quart ziptop bag in the freezer or in a quart jar in the fridge, if you choose to reuse the looing sauce.  I strained my post-roast looing sauce into a gravy separator to avoid the fat. I poured most of the sauce into a quart-size canning jar, and served what was left as jus for dipping.  (Here are some ways I've reused the looing sauce: brats)

Crockpot Chuck Roast in Looing Sauce
Makes 6-8 servings

2-3 lb. chuck roast, fat trimmed

Looing Sauce:
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup tamari
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 star anise
4 slices ginger
2 tbsp sugar

Mix together ingredients for looing sauce.  This sauce can be made ahead and frozen or fridged. 

To cook, brown the beef roast in canola oil, a few minutes on each side over medium-high heat.  Put the roast in a crockpot and pour the sauce over it.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  To serve, remove the roast to a plate to slice.  Serve with a little of the sauce for dipping and a drizzle of sesame oil. 

To save the sauce to reuse, strain any meat bits out of the sauce but keep the ginger and star anise.  Put in a ziptop bag or quart jar and freeze or fridge.  Bring to a boil before using in the next cooking session.
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