Braised Beef and New Potatoes

ofukuro no aji soup

This recipe is a stew of meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo). Ms. Shimbo notes that nikujaga is Japanese home cooking—ofukuro no aji, taste of mother—and there are many variations. This recipe has quite a lot of meat, but many versions use meat just to add flavor to the broth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikujaga

According to wikipedia, “nikujaga was invented by chefs of the Imperial Japanese Navy in the late 19th Century. It was inspired by beef stews served in the British Royal Navy which Japanese naval legend Tōgō Heihachirō encountered while studying naval science in Portsmouth, England. Upon his return to Japan, he commissioned a Japanese version of the dish for use in the Japanese Navy because of its nutritional value.[citation needed]”

nikujaga fry the potatoesI first made this recipe last October when Mr. Tess came home from the Farmers’ Market with a bag of “new potatoes.” Actually, new potatoes are newly harvested (usually immature) potatoes; I remember digging a few small potatoes for dinner in my dad’s garden during the summer. These were small potatoes, but they did not have the thin delicate skin of those long ago summer potatoes. They were pretty, though.The original recipe is written to serve 4, but it was so delicious as a “planned leftover,” I increased the amounts. Also, the flavor of this dish seemed too sweet for my tastes, so I’ve cut down the amount of onions and sugar. I found one recipe online that uses brown sugar, and that might be the flavor I want. Or perhaps the sugar should be slightly caramelized to add a darker flavor. This is a dish with very few ingredients, but they must be used carefully to achieve the right balance of flavor even though it’s not like the home-cooking I grew up with.

Braised Beef and New Potatoes

Shinjaga to Gyuniku no NikomiShinjaga to Gyuniku no Nikomi

serves 6 to 8

page 468

The marinade:

  • 1 pound beef sirloin, sliced thin across the grain
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion cut into very thin disks

In a bowl, combine the above ingredients and marinate for 30 minutes. Remove the beef from the marinade, discard the onions.The potatoes:

  • nikujaga fry the potatoes 1 1/2 pounds small potatoes (or peel and cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces)
  • a large pot of boiling water
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I did not need this much)

Boil the potatoes until they are tender but still firm, about 7 minutes. Drain and wipe them dry with a towel. Heat a skillet, add oil to cover the bottom, and when the oil is hot saute the potatoes until they are golden on all sides. Work in batches so the potatoes are not crowded.nikujaga ingredientsCooking:

  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 onion, cut in thin wedges
  • 1 cup dashi
  • 2 Tablespoons sake
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons soy sauce

In a medium-large pot, heat the sesame oil over medium. Add the beef (sans marinade) and cook until it turns pale. Add the potatoes and onion wedges. Stir to combine.Add the dashi and sake, and slowly bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, and cover with a drop lid. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes. A circle of parchment that fits inside you pot can be used instead of a drop lid; or use a lid that is smaller than your pot. Remove the lid, add the sugar, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shoyu, and cook gently until most of the liquid is evaporated. Serving:

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
nikujaga

Add the peas and heat only until they are warm. Serve hot with rice. Ok, I went to the store especially to buy the peas, but forgot to use them. The plates would have been much prettier.

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One thought on “Braised Beef and New Potatoes

  1. Pingback: Recipe Test 3, Nikujaga « Tess’s Japanese Kitchen

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