This recipe is from the WSJ and worth making. The meat is super tender and I love the spices! I could not find lemongrass at Whole Foods (!) so I used some kaffir lime leaves instead and some lemon zest.
2 to 2.25# well trimmed boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 3″ lengths and bruised with the back of the knife
3 T. fish sauce
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2 t. Chinese five spice powder
1 1/2 t. light or dark brown sugar
1 bay leaf
3 T. canola or other neutral oil.
1 yellow onion or 8 oz. shallots, finely chopped
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
1/2 t. salt
2 whole star anise
3 1/2 cups water
1# carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
1/4 c. cilantro or thai basil, chopped
In a bowl, combine the beef, lemongrass, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and bay leaf. Mix well and let marinate for 30 minutes.
In a heavy bottomed 5 quart dutch oven, heat oil over high heat and sear beef on all sides. You will have to cook in batches and remove to a plate when finished. Each batch should take about 3 minutes total.. Reserve lemongrass, bay leaf and leftover marinade. Lower heat to medium low and saute onions for 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt. Cover and cook 12-14 minutes, until fragrant and has reduced to a paste. If it gets dry, stir in a splash of water. Add beef, marinade and star anise, stir well and cook uncovered 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, lower heat and cover for 1 1/4 hours. Add carrots and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered. Before serving,discard lemongrass,bay leaf and star anise.