Cinnamon Beef Noodles
Adapted from Asian Noodles, by Marie Simonds
This is a wonderful cold weather, comforting food that, unusually, isn’t the least bit leaden. I think I crave and make it as much to smell it cooking as I do to actually eat it. The perfume of this dish always gets everyone asking, “Wow, what’s for dinner?”
6 scallions, trimmed, cut into 1 ½” sections, and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife.
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife and thinly slices
4 slices fresh ginger (about the size and width of a quarter)
1 ½ teaspoons hot chile paste, such as Sriracha
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise or one teaspoon aniseed
For the stew
8 ½ cups water
½ cup soy sauce
2 pounds chuck roast, trimmed of fat and gristle and cut into 1 ½” cubes
10 ounces broad-leaf spinach or kale or chard or mustard greens, washed and trimmed
½ pound flat Chinese wheat-flour noodles, udon, or ther flat noodles such as fettuccine, cooked and rinsed under cool water
3 tablespoons minced scallions
Saute the aromatics
- Heat a large pot or casserole over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chile-cinnamon seasonings and stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
Compose the stew
- Add the water and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Add the beef and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beef is very tender but not falling apart.
- Skim the surface to remove any impurities or fat. Remove the ginger and cinnamon sticks and discard.
- Add the greens and cook until tender.
- Divide the noodles among the soup bowls. Ladle the stew over the noodles and sprinkle with the scallions.
Yields six servings