PIERRE - If you're looking for new recipes to dazzle friends and family this holiday season, turn off the popular television food contests and turn on to exciting and delicious recipes that come right out of one of South Dakota's own home chef competitions.
So delicious, in fact, that the state's own version of Iron Chef-the South Dakota Beef Cook-Off-recently sent its 2011 winner to compete in the first-ever World Food Championship (WFC) in Las Vegas. And in terms of exciting, the 2012 SD Beef Cook-Off winner brings a delicious Asian flavor to South Dakota's favorite protein for the holiday season. Who says South Dakota beef is limited to the traditional steak and burger?
South Dakota to Las Vegas with Roast Beef Caribbean Style
South Dakota's own Susan Patrick was invited to compete in the recipe category of the WFC this November with the dish that took first place in the SD Beef Cook-Off last year. This wife, mother and principal of Lincoln Elementary in Watertown packed her cast-iron Dutch oven and purple edible orchids onto her carry-on bag and headed to the Las Vegas strip in November. Her recipe? A pot roast-but not the kind your grandmother used to make.
Her Roast Beef Caribbean Style combined a chuck shoulder roast with an interesting array of ingredients like garlic, habanero peppers, green onions and spices including ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and thyme. This isn't your everyday pot roast, says Holly Swee. This registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist is not only the director of nutrition & consumer information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC), but a regular judge for the SD Beef Cook-Off. It has wonderful flavor and an interesting flare. You could use this recipe for an every day occasion or a special event.
South Dakota CattleWomen (SDCW) and the SDBIC sponsored Patrick's participation in the World Food Championship with beef checkoff funds. Karla Pazour, SDCW president and chair of the SD Beef Cook-Off, said she was thrilled to have an event with such notoriety focus in on South Dakota's competition and winner.
The WFC featured Travel Channel's 'Man vs. Food' celebrity Adam Richman as host of the four-day cooking competition in which great food celebrities went head-to-head with home chefs like Patrick for their share of a $300,000 total prize purse. It was exciting to have our beef and contestant at such a high-stake competition, says Pazour.
Patrick placed 16th out of 24 in her category, competing against professional chefs, culinary school students and food bloggers. It was, says Patrick, a very respectable placing, although not in the top 10 required to move on to the next level. While she was obviously disappointed, she puts it into perspective. Had I known ahead of time that I'd be competing against this caliber of chefs and cooks, I might have turned the opportunity down, admits Patrick. But I'm glad I didn't. There were some people from cooking schools that ranked below me, and it was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Stir Fry Highlights Sioux Falls Night Lights
Patrick's invitation to the national scene is a testament, says Pazour, of the caliber of cooks in South Dakota as well as the versatility, flavor and pizzazz that beef can bring to the table this time of year.
This year's SD Beef Cook-Off winner, Ssu Chen, is a perfect example. A native of Taiwan and now a Vermillion, SD, resident, this English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) volunteer, wife and soon to be mother of two took top honors at the 2012 Beef Cook-Off with a recipe she named Sioux Falls Night Lights Beef Stir Fry.
In her first-ever cooking contest, Chen wowed the judges with her dish's presentation-a colorful plate of ribeye steak stir fried with colored peppers, yellow onions, scallions and hoisin and soy sauces and served four different ways: with whole wheat rice, Japanese noodles, wrapped in tortillas, or sandwiched in hearty bread.
Not only did this dish have eye appeal, recalls Swee, but as a mother and dietitian, I obviously think of nutrition, and this recipe has great ingredients including beef, vegetables and the option for whole grains. Better yet, it can be prepared and served in a matter of minutes. That's exactly what today's busy cook is looking for-especially this time of year.
Chen, who says her parents taught her to cook as a child in Taiwan, named her recipe Sioux Falls Night Life Beef Stir Fry because her husband, a professor at the University of South Dakota, often takes the dish with him when he travels to Sioux Falls during the week to teach classes. The green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers in the stir fry remind him, she says, of the colored lights of Sioux Falls when he heads home after dark. Her recipe would also create a colorful flair to complement this season's festive spirit.
Winning cooks, winning beef, winning holiday fare
While Patrick and Chen use different cuts of meat to create unique meals, they both insist that beef is their protein of choice for winning recipes. Beef is very versatile, says Patrick. You can be creative, adding a variety of combinations of ingredients and spices and come up with something that tastes different, yet delicious, each time.
Chen couldn't agree more. When you eat white meat, you don't really feel like you're eating meat, says Chen. I like a strong, beefy flavor, and the ribeye in this recipe is very juicy, tender and fool proof. It's very easy to prepare and always tastes good.
What more could you want to 'wow' your family and friends this holiday season? Find Ssu Chen's Sioux Falls Night Life Beef Stir Fry recipe below. To try Susan Patrick's Roast Beef Caribbean Style, go to sdbeef.org and click on What's Cookin'.
Sioux Falls Night
Lights Beef Stir Fry
by Ssu Chen, Vermillion
1 lb. ribeye steak, cut across the grain into thin slices
1/4 of a green, red, yellow, and orange pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 scallion (green-top onion), chopped
2 T. oil, canola or olive
2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. hoisin sauce
2 T. cornstarch
Salt to taste
In a large bowl combine beef strips, garlic, soy sauce, and corn starch. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Heat oil in skillet, stir fry beef until evenly browned; set aside. Stir fry bell peppers, onions, and scallions for two minutes. Add beef, hoisin sauce, and salt. Stir fry for one minute. Serve with your choice of rice or noodles, or wrapped in whole wheat tortillas.