1-2 pounds of hanger steak or other lean beef
2 bottles of Harpoon cider
a pound of dry noodles or pasta
1 package of good-quality frozen mixed vegetables
butter, salt, pepper, cornstarch
Put a knob of butter in a heavy saucepan and use it to brown your meat on both sides, then cut the meat into bite-size pieces and return to the pan. Pour an entire bottle of Harpoon cider over it and set it to simmer at a low temperature. When the cider is reduced to about a fourth of its previous volume, add the second bottle of cider and keep simmering. By the time the cider and pan juices are down to about the half the volume of a bottle of cider, the beef should be fairly tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, and turn the fire way down.
Get a pot of noodles cooking. (For the record, I used Grand’Mère seven-egg spaetzle, which Patrick is fond of, but any butterable pasta will do. For that matter, so will an equivalent quantity of gnocchi, rice, or new potatoes.) Add the frozen vegetables to the beef, put a lid on it, and turn the fire up far enough for the vegetables to be cooked before the noodles are ready. Thicken the pan juices with cornstarch.
Drain the noodles and toss them with some butter. You can serve the beef and vegetables on top of the buttered noodles, or side-by-side with them, as you prefer.
Notes: Yes, of course you can use a different brand of cider, but Harpoon works well with this recipe. You may want to add a little chopped onion if your vegetable mix doesn’t include it. I wouldn’t put mushrooms in this, as it would blunt the effect.
Addendum: What Andrew Plotkin’s Been Cooking
(This is just to say what I did this evening:)
Swirling and churning in a pan on the fire,
A can of mango puree and a cup of sugar;
While two cups of ricotta sizzle alongside,
Perhaps in ghee, or oil, or some butter.
The two pans sit and glower, side by side;
Instructions say the ricotta should be browned
And the mango thick. I’m not convinced:
The one lacks all color, the other’s full of passion
But no consistency. Surely some burnination is at hand.
Things boil down, the saute cannot hold.
The final mixing! (I’ve run out of patience
and anyway I have to work on Monday.)
Trouble’s in sight — I took it off too soon —
Not thick enough. Back on the heat it goes.
Well, now I know. A second recipe’s at hand;
It wants farina?! I’ve got oatmeal. Shush.
Vanilla, a bit of ginger, cardamom seed
Ground to powder by a rocking pestle.
Mix, stir, thicken, turn out at last,
Mango burfi is loosed upon the world.
(…What recipe, so delicious and so sweet
Slouches towards the icebox to be breakfast?)