1 1 Sawtooth and the petticoats: Five-Spice Beef Party Delight

Monday, December 13, 2010

Five-Spice Beef Party Delight

Deviled eggs. I could eat a whole platter.
Weddings only: Those wedding pillow mints.
Seafood stuff.
Tiny sandwiches.
Smoked salmon.

Time to party! Except apparently me and my friends are not the party type.* Actually, I did go to a party this weekend, a potluck. The night before I decided that I would have to use a recipe from a cookbook that's languished on my shelf forever; there's no point in having something you never use. The Five-Spice Beef, categorized under appetizers, sounded delicious yet non-threatening.

(Although I am hosting a craft party this Saturday. Leave a comment or email me if you'd like to come! Goodies will be served.)

To make the recipe, you simmer a roast in a spiced soy sauce broth for a few hours, then chill and slice it. Chinese five-spice is a mixture of five spices, the specifics of which vary a little. Serve the sliced beef with a delicious dipping sauce that's spicy and savory!

Five-Spice Poached Beef

adapted from "New World Chinese Cooking", by Bill Jones and Stephen Wong

1 pound pot roast or beef shank
1 onion, skin removed, cut into quarters
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
8 to 10 whole cloves
2 star anise, lightly crushed (hit once with the handle end of the knife)
2 teaspoons black peppercorns or Szechuan peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
4 1/4" thick slices fresh peeled ginger root
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white wine, sherry, or rice wine 
6 cups water

Trim any excess fat from the beef. 

Put the spices and ginger in a spice bag, teaball, or large piece of cheesecloth you can tie up. Secure and place in a large pot along with the onion, soy sauce, salt, sugar, wine, and water. Bring to a boil. 

Carefully add the beef to the hot liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you can stick a chopstick without too much effort in the middle, it's cooked. Remove the pot from the heat. Discard the spice pouch and onions.. Let the beef and broth cool and refrigerate overnight or for up to two days. Slice before serving; for appetizer-sized pieces, you may wish to cut the roast into smaller pieces (halves or thirds) and then slice.

1/2 cup mayonaisse (I used a vegan mayo substitute; I get the irony, but it's lower in fat!)
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 shoots green onion, white part and 1 inch green part only, chopped (reserve rest of green for garnish)

Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Arrange the meat attractively and garnish with the green onions (cut them on a bias for extra points). Serve with the sauce.


  1. Ooh! That looks really good! I don't think I've ever seen beef with dip before, but I love the idea- I mean, who doesn't love a nice hunk of beef?! I should have been born a man... ;)

  2. Thanks Kathryn! It was quite popular at the party, and makes great little sandwiches too!