Boeuf avec haricot verts et blettes
With a faint sigh of relief the festive season is over for another year. We can put away the baubles, the glitter and the pile of cards. The children are back at school and life returns to a semblance of normality. Except… As you glance down you’re forced to take in the extraordinary fact that sometime between the Christmas pudding and the New Year Champagne your toes completely disappeared from view!
Help is at hand. This is a recipe I devised years ago for just such occasions. It’s delicious, filling, full of nutritious vegetables and gratifyingly low in calories. It’s also a Fusion recipe – the Orient meets the Occident – with Asian roots and flavours mingling deliciously with fresh Quercy produce.
Just the thing for your jaded palate and straining jeans!
200g Lean Steak. In England I would use Rump, in France, the inexpensive Gite Noix.
200g Haricot Verts. You could use Haricot Plats if you can’t find Verts; either way cut them into 4cm lengths.
Half a Red Pepper, sliced into 4cm slivers
Four large leaves Ruby Chard. I grow mine; if you can’t find it, use Swiss Chard.
2 Shallots, peeled and chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
2 cm Fresh Root Ginger, peeled and chopped
2 Teaspoons Brined Green Peppercorns
Teaspoon Coriander seeds, crushed
Crushed Chillies or Cayenne Pepper to taste, I use a scant half-teaspoon, and that’s very hot. You can use Fresh Chillies of course, but they’re out of season in France at this time of year.
Juice and zest of half a Lime
About a Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
Tablespoon Soy Sauce
Tablespoon Sunflower Oil
Good Pinch Salt
Slice the beef into wafer-thin 4cm strips. The best way to do this is to freeze the steak first and slice it with a sharp knife whilst still half frozen.
Meanwhile boil the beans for five minutes. Take them off the heat, drain them and run them under icy cold water, put to one side.
Now deal with the chard. Rinse it thoroughly, cut off the leaf and chop roughly. Slice the stalk into two centimetre chunks.
You should now have all your ingredients assembled.
This is important because the dish takes only a few minutes to cook, and you need one hand to stir and the other for your glass of wine! You don’t want to be juggling garlic and hunting for a lime.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan until very hot, add the red pepper and shallots and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and coriander and stir for another minute, add the beef and chard stalks and stir-fry for two more minutes. Add the cold haricots verts and stir for one minute.
Now add the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, salt and chillies with a good slosh of cold water, stir for a few seconds until amalgamated, and add the green peppercorns.
Finally add the chard leaves and another slosh of water. Stir well and serve piping hot with a garnish of fresh basil leaves or coriander if you can find them!
I always serve this dish with plain basmati rice. I hope you enjoy it – and that it helps you recover the view of your toes. Bon Appetit!