Thai Style Beef with Basil
I have had more basil than I've known what to do with this summer- bushel upon bushel has been bursting from my garden walls. Who knew that this delicate green herb was a friend of extreme heat and crippling drought? This plant is tougher than she looks! Facing basil overload but growing tired of pesto recipes, I have developed this delicious Thai Style Beef with Basil, inspired by take-out favorite Pad Gra Prow. This dish is a simple and satiating way to highlight everyone'e favorite summer herb using fresh and punchy Thai flavors. Plus, it's quick and easy to prepare! Ground beef is an ingredient I reach for often when I need to fix dinner on the fly, but you could certainly swap in ground turkey if you'd prefer. This meal is rich and hearty, but simultaneously light and vibrant thanks to fresh, flavorful ingredients. It's a perfect late summer to early fall transition dinner. If you would like to make this even lighter, the beef is delicious as a lettuce wrap filling instead of a topper for rice! The addictive shaved vegetable salad is something I could eat every day- it's a crisp and refreshing counterpart to the warm beef. If you're short on time however, feel free to skip it and garnish the beef with julienned carrot and/or cucumber slices. Double this for a party or larger family, and cut back on the chili if you're sensitive to heat or cooking for kids who are. Move over, pesto- this is anything but a "basic" basil recipe!
prep time: ~10 min. cook time: ~20 min. Serves: ~3
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp lime juice (~1 lime)
1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 large shallot or small red onion, thinly sliced
1 red fresno chili, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lb lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 cups packed basil leaves
SHAVED VEGETABLE SALAD
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 plump clove garlic, grated
4 large carrots
1 English cucumber
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/2 jalapeño, thinly sliced (seeds removed for less heat per preference)
cooked rice, chiffonade basil, lime wedges
Start by making the salad: using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots into long, thin ribbons and add them to a salad bowl. Shave the cucumber into ribbons as well, discarding the center part containing the seeds, and add to the same bowl along with the bell pepper, jalapeño, green onions and peanuts. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, fish sauce, kosher salt, oil and garlic. Pour the dressing over the shaved vegetables and toss to coat. Check for seasoning. Let the salad sit to marinate while you make the beef.
Make the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and stock in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté 2 minutes before adding the garlic and chili- sauté 30 seconds more. Add the beef, season with a pinch of kosher salt, and break up with a wooden spoon to brown all over- leave it undisturbed for intervals to develop a good sear. This will take about 7-8 minutes. Once the beef is browned, stir in the basil leaves to wilt slightly and then pour over the prepared sauce. Reduce the heat to low and use the wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Simmer 2-3 minutes more to meld flavors and thicken the sauce.
Spoon servings of cooked rice into shallow bowls. Portion the beef onto the rice, and nestle some of the shaved veggie salad alongside. Garnish with more basil and lime wedges. This is also delicious served as a lettuce wrap! Enjoy.