yield: Serves 4
Trimming all corners and ragged edges from the carrots and potatoes is very Japanese; rounded edges also ensure even cooking. In Japan we used metal...more ›
1 1/2 lb boneless beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dashi
1/2 cup sake
1 bunch scallions, white parts trimmed and greens sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
12 (1 1/2-inch) small boiling potatoes (1 lb)
2 large carrots (1 lb)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
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Pat beef dry. Heat oil in a 5-quart heavy pot until hot but not smoking and brown beef on all sides. Add dashi, sake, and white parts of scallions and simmer, covered, skimming froth and turning beef occasionally, until meat is very tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. (Check periodically and add a few tablespoons water if beef becomes less than half submerged.) Add sugar and simmer, covered, 15 minutes longer (more liquid may evaporate at this point, but that's fine).
Prepare vegetables while beef is simmering:
Peel potatoes, halving and trimming into ovals if large, and steam, covered, over boiling water until barely tender, about 10 minutes.
Cut carrots crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Trim slices with a paring knife to create rounded edges and save trimmings for pickled Napa cabbage.
Steam carrots, covered, over boiling water until barely tender, about 7 minutes.
Add carrots and potatoes to beef and simmer, tossing occasionally, 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add soy sauce and bring to a boil. Discard white parts of scallions. Serve stew in small bowls sprinkled with scallion greens.