We were looking for a way to use some beef short ribs we came across this summer. This is a fragrant filling stew that has become a family favorite. Since the first round we have made this dish with ox tail and stew meat and they are all equally delicious. When making the dish with ox tail I usually cook it longer and use water instead of beef stock. I used plums in place of tomatoes to avoid nightshades, but they can be left out completely.
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 by 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 stalks lemongrass (pounded and tied in a knot)
2 very ripe sour plums seeded
2 whole star anise pods
6 cups beef stock
3 carrots, cut into rounds
8 ounces daikon radish cut into rounds
about 2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup finely sliced fresh Thai basil or cilantro, for garnish
1. Season the beef with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or pot working in batches, cook the beef, turning as needed, for about 8 minutes, until browned on all side rendering oil from the meat or ox tails. Remove the beef and leave the oil in the pot.
2. Decrease the heat to medium and add the onion to the pot with rendered oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is a deep golden brown. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes more.
3. Add the lemongrass and star anise and continue to cook for 5 more minutes (If using plums stir in).
4. Add the beef and any accumulated juices to the pot and pour in stock or water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, decrease the heat so the liquid is at a gentle simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours, until the meet is tender.
5. Add the carrots and daikon, re-cover, and cook for 30 minutes longer, until the vegetables are cooked through and the meat is very tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste. Serve with some of the basil or cilantro.