Beef Stir-Fry with Asparagus, Red Bell Peppers and Caramelized Onions

Contributed by Laura Giannatempo

Do not be fooled by the long list of ingredients. This recipe is very easy and incredibly tasty, inspired by the sharp, tangy flavors of Asian cooking. A wok would be ideal, but a good skillet or saute pan will do the trick.

Ingredients
For the Marinade:
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch

1lb flank steak
2-3 tbsp peanut oil
1 sweet organic onion
½ lb locally grown asparagus
1 red bell pepper
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
½ ; cup free-range chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp of water

Directions
1. Trim the excess fat and cut the flank steak in small, bite-size pieces. Combine the ingredients for the marinade and let the beef marinate for at least 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the onions in thin slices. The bell peppers should be seeded, deprived of the inside white spine and cut in 1-inch slices. Cut the tougher ends of the asparagus and slice them on the diagonal into 2-inch long pieces.

3. Bring a medium pan of water to a boil, reduce to a simmer and throw the asparagus in for about 2 or 3 minutes. Drain them, run them under cold water and dry them.

4. In a wok or sauté pan over a high flame, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the marinated beef strips, making sure it makes a nice sizzling sound. Once the meat is nicely browned on the outside, but still tender in the middle, about 2-3 minutes depending on the size, take it out and set it aside on a plate. You may need to sear the beef in two batches if your wok is not big enough.

5. Add 1 more tablespoon of the oil, and briefly stir-fry the asparagus for 3-4 minutes at medium-high eat. Set the asparagus aside and keep warm.

6. Add another tablespoon of oil, if necessary, and add the onions. Toss and turn until they have a nice golden brown color, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the peppers and stir until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar, and cook for a few more minutes until the onions begin to caramelize.

7. Add the stock and bring to a simmer cooking for another 2 minutes to reduce the liquid. Add the cornstarch and water mixture if you want a thicker sauce.

8. Return the beef and the asparagus to the pan and stir for another minute or so to amalgamate the flavors. Serve immediately with some white or brown rice.

Tips
Serve this dish with plain white or brown rice.

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