Vietnamese Braised Beef over Rice Noodle Salad

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Sometimes I find myself in an eating rut. For someone who loves to cook, I eat out or order in far too often. Even I’m surprised at how often I end up skipping the kitchen in favor of letting someone else prepare my meal for me. What can I say? I’m lazy. And by the time I get home from work I’m exhausted. While the idea of actually cooking doesn’t usually bother me, the thought of cleaning up afterwards is more than I can take.

So we get pizza.

Boring. And, to be honest, not all that tasty.

There’s no excuse. I have an entire category on here devoted to Quick Weeknight Meals. There are hundreds of great restaurants within in fifteen minute drive from my house. And, if I really wanted, I could make my own pizza in the amount of time it takes to get one delivered. That would taste better. And that wouldn’t require a ton of time spent on cleanup.

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So. I recently made a resolution that if I was going to be lazy and not cook for myself, I at least deserved to eat something good. Not pizza. Not fast food. Not a salad with twelve million calories from a chain restaurant.

Which lead me to discover a great Vietnamese restaurant that I had never been to before, despite the fact that it’s practically walking distance from my house. (It probably is walking distance, but there we go with that whole lazy thing again.)

And that restaurant has lead me to discover that Vietnamese food consists of more than just pho. Like their mussel appetizer, where mussels are served on the half shell drizzled with a sweet and spicy coconut curry. Or Bun Thit Nuong, grilled pork served over vermicelli, which has quickly become my favorite thing to order.

When I received a gorgeous enamel coated, cast iron dutch oven the other day (keep reading to find out how you can get one too!), I immediately decided that I wanted to make something loosely inspired by that dish. It was too hot outside to eat soup or stew, so a richly flavored braised beef served over a cool noodle salad seemed like it would hit the spot. Which it did. Despite the seemingly simple ingredients, this dish was bursting with flavor. As it bubbled and sputtered away in the oven, the most incredible aroma filled the house – mysteriously, it reminded me of cinnamon!

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Vietnamese Braised Beef
 
Tender beef short ribs are braised with Vietnamese flavors and served over rice noodle salad dressed simply with lime juice and fish sauce. Shredded vegetables add color and nutritive value, jalapenos add a tough of heat, and peanuts give the dish a great crunch. If you want to spice things up even more, top your bowl with some sriracha.
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 4 beef short ribs (about 1.5 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 Tbs fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups beef stock
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or heavy, oven safe pot, over medium heat. Add the ribs and sear on each side. Remove the ribs and add the shallots and garlic. Cook until softened. Add the ribs and the remaining ingredients back into the pot. If necessary, add enough water to just cover the ribs. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender.
  3. Remove beef from braising liquid and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve over noodle salad.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 375 Fat: 27 Fiber: 0 Protein: 28

 

Rice Noodle Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 servings rice noodles (vermicelli)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and shredded
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbs fish sauce
  • ¼ cup cilantro or mint, torn
  • 2 Tbs chopped peanuts
Preparation
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the noodles. Allow to stand for 15 minutes, or until the noodles have softened. Drain. Toss together the noodles with the remaining ingredients.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 112 Fat: 4 Fiber: 2 Protein: 3

 

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I’m submitting this to Joanne of Eats Well With Others for her Regional Recipes: Vietnam round-up.

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Giveaway!

To celebrate the end of their Into the Heart of Italy series, Bertolli provided me with a great gift pack that made this dish possible. It included a beautiful 5.5 quart enamel coated cast iron dutch oven (can you believe I actually didn’t have one of these yet? I’m in love. It heats so evenly and really retains the heat – I was able to keep liquid boiling at the lowest setting on my stove and it made very quick work of softening the shallots in the recipe above!), the two white bowls that I served this in (which are huge!), an organic bamboo utensil set, a bamboo cutting board, and two coupons for free Bertolli Italian Dinners for Two – perfect for when you don’t have hours to spend making your own braise. I actually make it a point to always keep one of these meals in my freezer for if I’m tired or to use as a backup if dinner ends up messed up. They’re a little high in calories and the portions are on the small size, but they are really good. My favorite is the Roasted Pork and Cavatappi Pasta. Yum!

Anyway, they’re providing me with another gift set (worth well over $100!) to give away! You’ll receive:

  • VIP coupons for two Bertolli Frozen Meals for two
  • 5.5 qt Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • Two Crate & Barrel Bistro Bowls
  • Crate & Barrel Bamboo Cutting Board
  • Crate & Barrel Bamboo Utensil Set
  • Bertolli Wine Pairing Guide

What do you have to do to win? Watch the final episode of Into the Heart of Italy (embedded below) and leave me a comment telling me 1) what part you found the most inspiring (I have a few favorites!) and 2) what the first thing you would make in you new dutch oven would be.

I’ll randomly pick a winner on Friday. Good Luck!!

Comments

  1. Heather says:

    As usual, your meal looks amazing!

    1. There are a few inspiring pieces, such as the part about cooking simply and cooking for friends. But I like the part showing the Bucchio (sp?), the cattle are treated much differently there than the mass market places around here. We do have local farms and I think it is good to support them more often.

    2. I think my first meal in the dutch oven would be something savory, probably a hearty/spicy meat sauce. Or peach cobbler.

  2. Absolutely love Vietnamese food, but have never made it. Your dish looks wonderful.

    Can’t pick out just one thing: it’s all the vibrant colors! What would I make? Beef with red wine, carrots and mini onions. Make it happen :)

  3. My favorite part was watching Dario’s dramatic way of talking in Italian. I would have loved to have tried that braised meat – incredible!

    What would I make with my new dutch oven? I would braised short rib beef in red wine until it falls off the bone.

    The Vietnamese Beef Salad looks scrumptious! I love all of the fresh flavors and textures.

  4. I agree- cleaning up is the daunting part of cooking. This dish looks amazing- way better than takeout. Josh loves thin beef strips. And what a rockin giveaway.

    1. Most inspiring- the beautiful countryside! Cooking with bone marrow though? ugh…that makes my vegetarian tummy turn haha (even though I cook meat…bone is a little much for me!)
    2. I’d make brisket for Josh! Its something I’ve never made before but have always wanted to make, and I know Josh would love it.

  5. I know what you mean about getting in a rut… been feeling that way myself lately. Part of it is this gorgeous weather – I just want to be outside after work while the sun’s still out. Oh well…

    As for the video – my favorite part was getting to see Dario, who I recently read about in “Heat” by Bill Buford, in action. He is truly the character that Buford wrote about – amazing.

    As for what I would cook -I’d love to try coconut curry braised short ribs. I’ve tried them in the crockpot, but I just don’t think it’s the same as a dutch oven.

  6. I’m glad Regional Recipes could provide the inspiration to get you out of your rut. I was so pleasantly surprised when I discovered that Vietnamese food was more than just soup…not that I have anything against soup. But a girl needs some variety in her life! The beef looks so tender and delicious and that salad is so pretty and colorful. I love the dish…thanks for submitting it!

    My favorite part of the video is how much they emphasize eating locally. Food is just so much better in quality when it’s not shipped 2,000 miles before it gets to you!

    I would make a good pot of baked beans!

  7. I am not a beef eater but the rice noodle dish looks so appetizing.

  8. Now this is how to get out of a rut! I simply love Vietnamese food and feel fortunate that we actually have a Vietnamese restaurant in our little town. I really want to start cooking it at home though, and this looks like a good recipe to start with!

  9. Alison Anglade says:

    I found two parts inspiring in particular.The first one was Dario’s ability to throw a meal together with abandon. It amazed me to watch him add a bit of this and a handful of that to the beef without even pausing to taste it!!!Secondly the gathering of everyone at the table to partake in a simple meal made with love….oooh how I wish I could’ve been there to share in that.We should all be so lucky.

    I would prepare a delicious African beef stew with tomatoes and white navy beans in my new dutch oven and share it with my family. Bliss.

  10. 1. I was inspired by the simplicity: cooking doesn’t have to be all about measurement and exactness. Cooking is about feeling! The way they just threw everything together was beautiful.

    2. I would make either the dish you posted on this page (that braised beef) or some short ribs and wine…mmmmmmmmmm.

  11. Dario’s enthusiasm was phenomenal. Sometimes I think of cooking as a chore, but he seemed like he was having the time of his life.

    With my new dutch oven I’d make bbq pork!

  12. I was inspired as well by the simplicity of cooking! I get to hung up on doing it by the book its nice to see that not everyone feels that way

    What would I make in my new dutch oven? A pot roast!

  13. The video has inspired me to continue cooking the way I love to, simply, slowly and ending with a great meal and friends to help enjoy it, which I plan to do in a few weeks when my birthday rolls around and if I happen to have a new dutch oven, it will be used to delite my guests with my attempt at coming up with something really good. Your recipe above might be a good choice.

  14. Monique says:

    the video is no longer avail :-(

    i would have infinite uses for a dutch oven. I have wanted one for years but I couldnt bring myself to shell out the cash for it :(

  15. I was inspired by the enthusiam they all have for cooking and food. Unfortunately, I am also all too often lazy and look at cooking as a huge chore and opting for take-out instead, but I do truly love cooking when I take the time, and the video reminded me of that.

    The first thing I’d make is braised short ribs, also. I’ve had a recipe sitting in my kitchen forever, but I don’t have a great dish to cook them in, and this could be perfect.

  16. Ohh, I can’t imagine anything better than a noodle salad with braised beef right now. I’m in Paris, it’s hot, and I’m craving asian food. Mm.

  17. What a delish asian dish you have made: ) i Love vietnamese and I love noodles : )

  18. 1. Oh, I can’t pick just one! I love the Italian cowboys/girl because of their history they shared; seeing bone marrow used in a recipe was wonderful due to its nutritious value; the old fashioned olive oil container was awesome; the family style meal was important since families and friends should do that more; and the “keep it simple with the best ingredients” statement is one of the best approaches to cooking, and one I try to follow as often as possible.

    2. I would use the oven to make a dessert, like a fruit cobbler, since they retain so much moisture. Yum!

  19. The beef sounds fantastically flavorful and so delicious over noodles, yum!

  20. Michelle says:

    Thank you for offering this giveaway! What a wonderful gift!

    1. I was most inspired by the use of the bone marrow to flavor the meat. I had never heard of that! I tried it once, spread on bread, at a restaurant. But it was just a little too fatty for me by itself, a little like beefy butter. Now I’m dying to see if I can use it in other recipes! It also made me want to have a dinner party with all my lovely friends from around the country, sitting around talking, eating good food and drinking wine. Is there anything better?

    2. Your recipe looks amazing! I would love to make the braised short ribs in my new dutch oven!!

  21. I found Dario most inspiring. He is a man who knows his meat. Over his lifetime he as accumulated so much knowledge about meat, that he can look at any cut and immediately tell you the best way to prepare it. Without the help of his cookbooks or Google. I aspire to know that much about one ingredient. To have cooked it every way, to have made the best of it, and to have made the worst of it.

    What would I make with my new Dutch oven? My mom’s pot roast recipe. Every time I make it I tweak it a bit, but it’s never as good as I remember hers to be.

  22. jacquie says:

    not being a meat-eater i can’t say i found the meal itself very inspiring. however, i do very much embrace the concept of good quality food prepared simply as being the basis of great cooking. and i did love the horses also – they looked both strong in gentle.

    not sure what i would make in the dutch oven 1st – something w/ veggies and noodles perhaps. or a fruit cobbler since the summer fruits are just coming into season here.

  23. 1) I find Dario’s incredible passion most inspiring. His gestures, his voice, everything about him expresses his love for wholesome and well-crafted food. His thoughtful approach to food makes me want to go out and by some marrow to experiment with!

    2) As a testament to another passionate and inspiring cook, my first meal would be Beef Bourguignon.

  24. Of course, by “by,” I meant “buy.” It’s too early!

  25. I found the ingredients and the culture of Italy very inspiring. The food is simple and rustic and the personality of Dario, and I would assume most of Italy, is warm and inviting. What a wonderful place to visit.
    I would probably make a braised beef or pork dish first. I can’t think of a better way to break in a new Dutch Oven.

  26. Oh wow this looks amazing. Not to seem like a suck up, but I think I would make this!

    Most inspiring- probably the countryside! Wow! Or the way the cows are treated. Not so up my alley is the cooking with marrow! I’d probably taste it if someone made it, but make it myself…eeek!

  27. Melissa says:

    I was inspired by the simplicity of the food and how a few flavorful ingredients and some patience can make something so beautiful (and yummy). That fresh rosemary got to me in particular; I could almost smell it!

    As far as the dutch oven goes, I love to cook with wine, so my first instinct is to make a Coq au Vin or some such hearty stew. Then again, it’s almost summer and the farmers markets are starting to fill up with such lovely produce; I might be compelled to go with a vegetable soup or maybe even strawberry jam!

  28. Abbie H says:

    1. I was inspired by their passion for cooking. It totally inspired me to spend more time in the kitchen cooking quality meals!

    2. I would definitely use the dutch oven to cook No-Knead Bread. It looks so good, but I don’t have anything that can withstand the really high temperature it requires to bake it.

  29. This looks totally fabulous. First time have seen this recipe in your blog this looks awesome.

  30. Fantastic site. A lot of helpful info here. I?m sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks to your effort!

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