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Mixed Bits. Ginger Sirloin-Veggies Delight
There are two kinds of meals. One consists of single, separate foods, sitting on the plate, such as meat, vegetables, and bread. If the eater is five years, the individual foods better not be touching each other. The second type consists of foods that are mixed up together, such as stew, meatloaf, casserole, and chop suey. The term chop suey is thought to have been derived from a Chinese phrase for a dish called mixed bits. This dish is not a chop suey, but it is made up of mixed bits. For those wishing to get more veggies, fruit, and nuts into their diets, but have no wish of abandoning meat and poultry, this recipe keeps the meat (or one can use poultry) while using all of the above.
Only a few ounces of sirloin are needed. Usually one sirloin tip will do. The other ingredients make up most of the recipe. The cook may use whatever varieties of onions, peppers, and apples he or she fancies, but it is recommended that the sweeter varieties are preferred. Further, use a moister apple over a drier variety.
Mixed bits type dishes often came into being to use up leftovers. In the days before refrigeration and canning, not wasting food could, at its most extreme, mean the difference between surviving a winter and starvation. But necessity is not only the mother of invention it can also be the mother of delicious meals. Thus humanity learned mixing odd foods together could be very tasty. Below find another offering.
List of Ingredients
One sirloin tip, approximately three to four ounces
One medium to large sized pepper
One medium to large sized onion
One apple, small to medium sized, preferably a moist variety
A handful of English walnuts, approximately 1/8 of a cup
1/2 cup of egg noodles
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/8 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne or chili powder (optional for a hotter taste)
1 teaspoon of soy sauce (may use regular or lower-sodium)
1 tablespoon of oil, preferably olive oil
2 or 3 teaspoons of water, as needed
Sugars, sauces, and noodles: White sugar can be used if brown sugar is not available. Worcestershire sauce can be used if the cook prefers the taste of Worcestershire to soy. Again, one may use the lower-sodium variety. Rice noodles can be used in place of egg noodles. In a pinch, macaroni could be used though macaroni is not recommended as a first choice. Most important, one can use other meats or poultry, but not just any cuts.
Other cuts of beef: I find sirloin tips to be the best for this recipe. One tip, cut up small, is sufficient. I have tried stir fry strips and shaved steak and they don’t work. The taste is not particularly good. Ground beef works well. Chuck and New York sirloin also work fairly well.
Pork: I take a large, thick loin pork chop and cut it in half. I leave the boned side for another meal. I take the other half and cut it up in small bites to use for the mixture. Another possibility is to take a small chunk off of a pork roast before cooking or freezing the roast.
Lamb: Ground lamb, from a good supplier, works beautifully in this recipe. It’s quite tasty.
Chicken: I use a small thigh. I prefer the stronger flavor of the darker cuts of the chicken and a small thigh is the right size, being just a few ounces. Those who love the breast might want to try that. Like the beef or the pork, simply cut it up into small bites.
- One small pot for noodles
- One medium sized skillet
- Measuring spoons
- Slotted spoon
- Paring knives
- Kitchen scissors (optional)
- For the noodles, place a pan of water on the stove. While waiting for the water to boil, chop up the vegetables and put them to one side. Cut up the apple and put to one side. (If desired, peel the apple, but that is not necessary.) Break up the walnuts into smaller pieces and set to one side. Then, using either a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors, cut up the sirloin tip into small, bite-sized pieces
- If desired, the salt, pepper, and spices can be measured out in advance onto little plates or into tiny bowls, or they can simply be measured from their various containers into the mixture as it cooks in the pan. If the cook tends to forget items, measuring everything out in advance is preferable. Also, some of us like to look like Julia Child or the folks on America’s Test Kitchen.
- Once the water has come to a boil, add the noodles. Note what the package says is the proper time to cook the noodles. Check the noodles about half way through that time. For example, if the package says eight minutes, first check them at four minutes. Remember, a little underdone will not hurt, because they can cook a little longer once added to the sirloin-veggie mixture. They can be used if overcooked, but they will not be as good. If afraid of losing track of time while starting on the sirloin mixture, the cook can wait until the noodles are done (or near done), take them off the stove, and put them to one side before doing anything else. They will heat up again once added to the sirloin mixture.
- To start the mixture, place a medium sized skillet on the stove over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sirloin then sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Use a slotted spoon to swirl the sirloin pieces around as they sear. After about a minute, add the onions. Once they are partly cooked, add the peppers, apple pieces, and walnuts. Then add the spices, brown sugar, soy sauce, and water. Swirl everything around. Turn down the heat a little and let simmer.
- After about a minute or two, if the mixture looks dry, add a little more water. Within another minute or two, add the noodles. Allow the mixture to simmer, but not for too long. The aim is that the peppers and apples remain fairly crispy. One reason to start the onions earlier is to allow them to cook more thoroughly.
- Take off the stove and serve. At these measurements, the mixture renders about three servings. (Two for those with heartier appetites. Four for those with tiny appetites.) The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled if need be. If increasing the recipe, either use a larger pan or more than one pan.
The Ginger Sirloin and Veggies Delight can be made in advance. As needed, heat up either a portion or the entire mixture slowly on the stove or in the microwave. Adding another teaspoon or so of water to heat up the dish won’t hurt. The mixture can also be frozen for a while. I have never tried to keep it in the freezer for more than about three weeks. It might last longer.
Although this dish is a meal in itself, it could be served with other things such as salad or soup or bread.
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© 2014 Teddi DiCanio