A five-spice mixture makes this stew. Of course, you can buy Chinese five-spice at the market, but toasting and grinding your spices just before use will make all the difference in this umami-forward dish. If you are lucky enough to bring up a haul of porcinis, morels, or other meaty mushrooms from foraging, this dish is a beautiful way to showcase them. And we have many local growers to choose from when sourcing mushrooms. If you instead decide to make the dish with meat, use 1 steak for four people.
Chinese-Style Stew with Beef/Mushroom, Sweet Potato, and Bok Choy
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1- inch fresh ginger diced
- 2 cups mushroom mixture oyster, king oyster, lion’s mane, or foraged mushrooms and 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped; OR 1 pound beef (hanger or rib eye)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice see recipe on this page
- 4 cups beef broth or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tamari sauce
- 1 sweet potato peeled
- 2 heads bok choy trimmed and leaves rinsed and separated and cut into wide diagonal slices
- 2 green onions sliced
- Pulse garlic and ginger in a food processor.
- Use a vegetable peeler to carefully slice the sweet potato lengthwise into long, thin ribbons.
For the meat:
- Trim fat from steaks and slice across the grain into
- 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle meat with the salt and half the garlic mixture.
- Heat oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Brown the beef lightly in batches for 3–6 minutes. Remove to a plate using a slotted spoon.
For meatless version:
- Heat oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Brown mushrooms with half the garlic mixture, and when they begin to release their water, remove to a plate using a slotted spoon.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining garlic mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in five-spice powder, then broth, and then tamari. Add sweet potatoes, cover the pot, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Stir in bok choy until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in beef or mushrooms until hot, another 1–2 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with green onions.
- 6 star anise pods
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves or 1 1/4 teaspoon ground
- 1 cinnamon stick 3 inches long, or 2 tablespoons ground
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns or 3 teaspoons regular peppercorns
- Toast whole spices in a dry skillet until fragrant, 2–3 minutes. Place all ingredients in a spice grinder (or coffee grinder) and grind until smooth. Store in an airtight container.