Six to Eight Servings
Star anise, with its pungent licoricey flavor, is a wonderful complement to
beef and red wine, and adds another dimension of flavor to this dish. Use it
carefully as it can easily overpower. You may serve this dish over a crisp-cooked
green vegetable or slices of fennel with steamed rice.
2 pounds beef stewing meat such as chuck or bottom round, trimmed of fat and gristle
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife or cleaver
6 small onions, weighing about 1 pound, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
1 ½ whole stars anise, smashed lightly with the flat side of a cleaver
1 cup rice wine or sake
1 cup red wine
½ cup unsalted chicken broth
1pound baby carrots, or large carrots, peeled and cut into half, lengthwise, then cut into 1 ½-inch lengths
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the meat into 1 ½-inch cubes. On a plate or in a paper bag, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Coat the meat with the seasoned flour, either by rolling the pieces on a plate or dropping into the bag and shaking. Lightly squeeze the meat pieces to adhere the flour to the surface. Discard the excess flour.
2. Heat a 4-quart casserole or a Dutch oven, add 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil, and heat until very hot. Add a batch of the beef and brown on all sides, over medium-high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon. Heat the remaining oil, and continue frying the remaining beef. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the garlic, onions, and star anise. Fry briefly over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice wine, red wine, and chicken broth and stir to mix together. Add the beef cubes, carrots, salt, and pepper, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover tightly and place in the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally, or until the beef and vegetables are very tender. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary, and skim any impurities from the surface. Serve with steamed rice or crusty bread.