Chicken Cacciatore, Beef Stroganoff, Indian Lamb Stew—Stir-Fried

Nearly two weeks ago, while I was in Europe my latest Stir-Fry Guru videos were posted on WeightWatchers. By the time I returned to New York I should’ve put them up on my site but I dreaded watching them. I should explain that the day of the shoot I woke up feeling like I was coming down with a bad cold. Most shoot days I feel “on” and full of energy. That day, I was definitely off. I either stumbled over my words or every good take seemed to be interrupted by a loud car horn, the racket of a garbage truck or sirens from the streets. Our wonderful director, Hosik, gave me several instructions which I promptly forgot the moment the shooting started. It was embarrassing that I couldn’t seem to retain any info. The more takes we had to do the foggier my head felt. Somehow on this crazy day I did manage to take this fun photo of the wok cam and mic “interviewing” my wok.

The day after the shoot I felt so bad about my “performance” that I wrote Hosik an apology knowing there was no way he got any usable footage. He wrote back that everything looked great but I assumed he was being kind. A few days ago, when I finally got up the nerve to watch the footage I couldn’t believe it was fine. Undoubtedly, Hosik’s masterful editing eliminated my gaffes. In retrospect, I think I was so depleted that I was trying extra hard to look animated and it worked. Hosik sent me this cool screen grab he took while editing the videos. Who would guess this happy gal was feeling sick. I’m beginning to wonder if I should try and get sick for our next shoot.

It’s always enjoyable developing Stir-Fry Guru recipes for WeightWatchers. It makes me realize that stir-fries are the ideal dish when you want to lose weight and eat healthy. The home cooked stir-fry uses minimal fat, emphasize a variety of vegetables, takes the focus  away from the meat, and is delectable. For stir-fry newbies who are intimidated by the technique and think they need to stock up on hard to find Asian ingredients, it’s nice to know that a stir-fry doesn’t have to be Asian. This set of videos shows off the genius and versatility of stir-fries by taking classic favorites like Chicken Cacciatore, Beef Stroganoff and Indian lamb curry, dramatically cutting back on fat without sacrificing richness or flavor. Traditionally, these decadent stews take one to three hours to cook but by stir-frying you can reduce the cooking time to just 5 minutes. As the winter draws to a close, treat yourself to a hearty stew reimagined into an easy stir-fry, and shed a pound or two! Here’s the yummy beef stroganoff!

Beef Stroganoff Stir-Fry
3/4 lb. lean and trimmed beef flank steak
2 Tbsps dry sherry
1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
3 tsp s plus 1 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
3 Tbsps reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
1 cup thinly sliced cremini or button mushrooms
1 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsps minced parsley

1. Cut beef along grain into roughly 2-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip across grain into ¼-inch-thick slices. It’s critical that beef slices are cut across the grain. If you cut the slices with the grain the meat will be tough. In a medium bowl, combine beef, 1 tablespoon of sherry, soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1/2 tsp of salt, until cornstarch is no longer visible. Stir in 1 teaspoon of oil. In a small bowl, combine broth, mustard, and remaining 1 tablespoon sherry, until mustard is dissolved.
2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 1 Tbsp of oil, add onions and stir-fry 10 seconds or until fragrant. Push onions to side of wok and add beef and spread evenly in one layer in wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting beef begin to sear. Stir-fry 30 seconds with onions or until beef is lightly browned but not cooked through.
3. Swirl in remaining 2 teaspoons oil into wok, add mushrooms, bell pepper, sprinkle on remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and stir-fry 30 seconds or until just combined. Swirl broth mixture into wok, and stir-fry 30 seconds to 1 minute or until beef is just cooked through and vegetables are tender-crisp. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and parsley.

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