THIT BO KHO {SPICY VIETNAMESE BEEF STEW} WITH FRENCH BAGUETTE

The weather was cold so I decided to cook up some bo kho. This beef stew is perfect for dipping a nice French baguette in.

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Bo Kho {Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew}

Source: Lo Huynh (4 servings)

1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into 2″ chunks
1 tablespoon all purpose white flour
tt kosher salt
tt freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon annatto seeds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1 each large yellow onion, cut into 2″ chunks
1 inch knob fresh ginger, cut in half
1 stick cinnamon
2 each star anise
1 each bay leaf
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 teaspoon Vietnamese Indian Madras curry powder
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
4 cups water
2 each large carrots, cut into 2″ chunks
1 each large yukon potato, cut into 2″ chunks [optional]

Garnishes:
yellow onion, thinly sliced rounds
cilantro , rough choppd

Accompaniments:
French baguette, toasted
fresh Thai basil leaves
lime, cut into wedges

Directions:
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper and coat with the all purpose flour.
2. In a dutch oven, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil and annatto seeds. Once the seeds release their color into the oil, remove the seeds and discard.
3. Sear the beef in this annatto oil until all sides are browned.
4. Add the chunks of yellow onions, lemongrass stalk, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, bay leaf, Chinese 5-spice powder, Vietnamese Indian Madras curry powder, fish salt, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, granulated sugar, and tomato paste or ketchup. Saute for a couple minutes.
5. Add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Once the water boils, bring the heat down to a low medium simmer and let the meat cook for an hour and a half.
6. Add the carrots and potatoes and let this cook with the meat for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
7. Readjust the seasonings if necessary.
8. Remove the ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, and star anise.
9. Garnish the beef stew with cilantro and thinly sliced onion rounds.
10. Serve with toasted French bread and a side of fresh Thai basil and limes.

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