Orange Peel Beef

I know, I know, a stir fry. But that’s okay! :) It’s a meal that, while not particularly quick (because peeling an orange is kind of obnoxious), is still particularly good. I’m sure most of you have been to a Chinese restaurant and either seen orange peel beef on the menu, or eaten it. Having worked at PF Changs, orange peel beef was something that was seen quite a lot on Friday and Saturday nights.

Now, I never cooked the beef. I was not a wok cook, I was a pantry cook. I did eat the heck out of the leftover oranges, though. The restaurant ordered bulk oranges (and the poor sous chef would stand there and peel the everliving daylights out of them all) specifically for the orange peel beef. All I ever made that had orange juice in it was…well, maybe I shouldn’t tell you. But it only required the juice of 1 orange, not 50. So we kept them and would occasionally eat them because there was no sense throwing them away.

I was looking for a simple recipe, which I can always reliably find in my Easy Chinese Stir Fries book – you know the one, I featured it in the Yangzhou Slippery Shrimp recipe I did. I came home from work and looked up the recipe to see what I’d need, and after a bit of surfing the interwebs for alternative recipes just in case, I decided to go ahead and stick with the book. Not because the internet recipes sounded bad, but because a lot of them had a very looong list of ingredients, and you know what, I’m just not feeling the need to make a 16 ingredient sauce for my beef tonight. And I don’t particularly feel like taking a bazillion steps to prepare the food either. I just want to eat. It’s one of my favorite things to do in this world.

And for all of you ladies (and gents) out there that have other things you want to do with your evening (I dunno about you, but for me that consists of gaming with the Ryan and watching Stargate..now not only SG-1 but Atlantis as well), I wanted to give you something that didn’t require inordinate amounts of time in front of the wok. Or pan. Whatever you want to use.

Let’s get started!

You will need: Light soy sauce (3 tbls), Chinese rice wine/dry sherry (1 tbls and 2 tsp, divided), cornstarch (1 tbls), canola oil (1/2 cup), 1/4 cup peeled orange rind or orange zest, ginger (2 tbls, minced and peeled), garlic (1 tbls minced), scallions (2, minced), chicken broth (1/4 cup), sugar (2 tsp) and whole chile peppers (6; I couldn’t find these at my grocery store, so I used chile pepper flakes).

In a medium bowl, add 1 tbls of the soy sauce, 2 tsp of rice wine and the cornstarch. Whisk together and then add the beef. Toss to coat well.

Peel or zest your oranges being careful to avoid the rind. Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil.

Boil the orange peels/zest for 3-4 minutes.

Rinse in cold water and shake dry. I laid mine out on a paper towel, as shown.

In another bowl, prepare you r scallions, ginger and garlic, and set aside.

Finally, in a third bowl, mix together 2 tbls soy sauce, 1 tbls wine, the sugar and the broth.

In your wok, heat the 1/2 cup of oil on high (I didn’t use that much, I only used a little less than a quarter cup). When oil is heated, stir up the beef mixture and add to wok. Cook the beef until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain the beef.

Add the additional 2 tbls to the wok and once heated, add the orange peel, ginger, garlic, scallions and chiles. Stir over high heat for approximately a minute, or until the garlic starts to color (don’t let it burn!)

Return the beef to the pan along with the soy sauce/sugar/broth mixture and cook until the liquid is almost gone, 3-5 more minutes.

For fun, I added broccoli which I pre-steamed for about a minute.

Serve over rice and enjoy!

Warning: This is spicy! If you’re a wuss like me, cut back/omit the chiles!!

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