Americans do not have a corner on the concept of meat and potatoes for dinner, altouqh neither meat (niku) nor potatoes (jagaimo) are traditional Japanese ingredients, Nikujaga is typical Japanese home cooking. Like other dishes I have expanded on, I've enjoyed transforminq this humble stew into an elegant dish.
Makes 4 servings
• 2 quarts Beef Stock
• 1 cup mirin
• 1 cup Japanese soy sauce
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 -inch (2½ cm) pieces
• 3 narrow carrots, cut into 1-inch (2½ cm) lengths
• 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch (2½ cm) pieces
• 1 cup haricots verts or narrow green beans, trimmed
• 8 ounces (225 g) yam noodles (shirataki), rinsed and drained, snipped with scissors into 5- inch (12½ cm) lengths
• 1¼ pounds (575 g) thinly sliced top loin, preferably prime, Kobe, or Wagyu
• Zest of 1 yuzu, or lemon, for garnish
1. Bring 1 quart (1 liter) beef stock, 1/2 cup mirin, 1/2 cup soy sauce, and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a large deep skillet over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onions, adding a little more stock or water to cover the vegetables, if needed. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cover. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 30 minutes Set aside.
2. Bring the remaining 1 quart (1 liter) beef stock, 1/2 cup mirin, 1/2 cup soy sauce, and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low, bringing the stock to a bare simmer.
3. Blanch the green beans in a medium saucepan of lightly salted water over high heat until crisp-tender, about 30 seconds. Drain, rinse briefly under running water, and drain again well.
4. Meanwhile, return the previously cooked potatoes, carrots, and onions with their liquid to a simmer. Add the yam noodles and cook until the vegetables are heated through. Divide the vegetables and broth among 4 bowls.
5. Using chopsticks or tongs, dip the meat into the simmering stock and heat just until the meat begins to change color, it should remain very rare and only takes a few seconds for each slice. As it is cooked, drape the sliced meat over the vegetables.
6. In a separate pan, pour in 3 cups of the remaining stock and reduce it over medium heat to 1 cup, about 30 minutes. Pour the reduced liquid over the meat and vegetables, top with the green beans, garnish with the yuzu zest, and serve immediately.