ORANGE is the new black. So you may be sensing a bit of an orange theme here lately. Apart from it being my favourite colour, I'm nowcompletely obsessed with it in the kitchen as well. For the past two weeks I've been dreaming of this new flavour combo - tormenting me as I repeatedly attempt to work it into the perfect recipe. So far I've only managed to get two of the elements to work together successfully. You probably want to hear my idea, right? OK, here it is (brace yourselves)... ORANGE + CACAO (right now I imagine you're asking "OK Brodie, so what's the big deal?". It's coming, wait for it!)... + SZECHUAN PEPPER. BOOM!
Anyway, here's another attempt that I couldn't file in the "failed" draw as, frankly, it was dee-lish. Couldn't quite work in the cacao though, it just seemed a bit too experimental, even by my standards. So it's back to the drawing board for my dream flavour combo. Any ideas?
szechuan orange beef stroganoff
2 x 250g porterhouse steaks, fat removed, sliced approx 5mm thick
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp orange zest (fine)
1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, finely ground
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp Cointreau
200ml sour cream
A squeeze of lemon juice
250g mixed mushrooms (I used oyster, shiitake and enoki)
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped
Sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper
In a non-reactive (plastic or glass) bowl, combine allspice, orange zest, ground Szechuan pepper and a generous pinch of salt. Add beef and toss to ensure spice mixture coats the beef strips evenly. Allow to marinate for 20 mins.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium size frypan over low-medium heat. Add onion and garlic and gently sauté until onion becomes soft and opaque. Remove onion mixture from the pan, set aside. Increase heat to high, ensuring the pan gets really hot before adding the beef strips. They should sizzle when they hit the pan - if they don't, your pan isn't hot enough. Give the beef strips a quick stir fry, then re-introduce the onion mixture to the pan and stir through the Cointreau. Reduce heat to medium, then allow to simmer for 3-4 mins. Remove pan from the heat and stir through the sour cream and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to packet instructions.
In a medium size frypan, heat butter and remaining olive oil over a medium heat until butter melts and becomes foamy. Tear the mushrooms up into strips (we're going for that elusive rustic look here) and throw into the pan along with the rosemary and thyme. Fry for 2-3 mins, then remove from the heat, place under the grill of your oven (at full temperature) for 4-5 mins or until golden and crispy. Season with salt and black pepper.
To serve, arrange pasta in plates. Top with a generous spoonful of the stroganoff and then the crispy mushrooms to finish.