|Beef Pares - Roast Style (Westernized version)|
This dish is something I created in my effort to copy a favorite (and famous) item in some side-street restaurants in the Philippines. Beef Pares, a Chinese influence to Filipino cuisine, I believe, is juicy tender stewed beef in sweet brown sauce. By experimentation, I was quite successful in re-creating the dish in my now American kitchen. While the sauce is served thin in the Philippines, I have tweaked it to come up with a thick sauce, which has more appeal to the Western tongue of my in-laws and husband (who is quite picky when it comes to food). They (and I) love this dish. During a town hall meeting, my father-in-law was chatting with a friend, and he introduced me, with the phrase, “Linda [my mother-in-law] is already a good cook, but she [pointing to me] is even better!” While I felt flattered with the remark, I was embarrassed because my mother-in-law was also with us! It must be quite insulting to her to hear that, but then we have a very good relationship anyway, and even she tells me I am a good cook. I usually serve this dish during my birthday celebration, although at times I prepare it only for my family over the weekend, and I end up with some leftover. With this leftover, I can make another Chinese-influenced Filipino favorite merienda (snack) – the beef asado siopao, which are steamed buns with beef filling, also loved by my in-laws. Or make it into a heavy snack – beef asado roll, which is a baked bread with beef filling (my very own idea). I am very proud to be sharing this recipe not only with other Filipina immigrants but also with Americans as well.
3 lb boneless beef chuck roast
1 tbsp oil for browning
2 dried bay leaves (laurel)
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
some dried orange peel (optional)
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine
3 cloves of garlic, crushed then minced
5-10 peppercorns, crushed or freshly milled
1/2 cup of frozen beef broth (I have several in my freezer)
Additional ingredients for the sauce:
3 tbsp light brown sugar (or according to taste)
2-3 drops soy sauce to darken the sauce some more, if desired
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 drops of Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp sesame oil
Brown the chuck roast on all sides using a heavy iron pan on high heat. Place the bay leaves, star anise, cinnamon sticks and orange peel in the slow cooker and then the roast on top of these.
Mix together all the other ingredients and pour onto the roast. Place the frozen beef broth on top of the roast to baste it while cooking. Cover and slow cook for 8 hours.
After 8 hours, scoop out the sauce and let pass through a strainer to remove the spices. Keep the roast in the slow cooker under warm setting. Transfer the sauce into a fat separator then pour out the sauce minus the fat into a small saucepan. Boil. Adjust the taste with the additional ingredients for the sauce. Thicken to desired consistency by adding the cornstarch-water mixture in a slow stream while stirring. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil.
Transfer the roast to a serving platter and pour the sauce over. This can be topped with snips of chives for a more appetizing look. Serve with mashed potatoes or plain rice, plus steamed vegetables.
Uses for the leftover, if any:
I roughly chop the meat, then reheat it on low with the sauce, constantly stirring to avoid scorching. For every cup of chopped meat, there must be about 1/2 cup of sauce. If the sauce is too much, I just let it evaporate as I reheat. If it is not enough, I add some more water in increments of 1/8 cup plus some soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. The mixture must not be runny and must hold together when cooled.
I use this as filling either for beef asado roll (baked version) or beef asado siopao (steamed version).