Beef Braised in Coconut Milk

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 11, 2010 at 8:04am

I’ve always been a coconut fiend, but I am having a particular moment with coconut milk this fall. I’m pretty much obsessed with it. Some will caution against coconut milk’s saturated fat content, but worry not – the short- and medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk are great for you. And oh my goodness the deliciousness! What it does to beef should be illegal – this is a seriously rich, silky dish, mmm.

You’ll notice that the seasonings are a riff on the Quick Coconut Curry with Halibut & Broccoli I posted at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly a few weeks ago. So easy, so packed with flavor, it all translates quite nicely to beef.

I made rice for the family but ate mine as is, alongside a pan of kale braised with a little garlic and ginger. Very nice together. I even diced some leftover beef (as is always true of braised dishes, the flavors continue to improve) and stir-fried it with mushrooms and spinach. I’d be very happy with a steady supply of this just ready to go in my fridge, any time. Someone get on that…

Beef Braised in Coconut Milk
Serves 6

1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or other oil)
3 lbs. beef chuck roast, cut into 6 pieces, trimmed of obvious excess fat
coarse salt
1 small onion, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
zest of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. green or red Thai curry paste (available in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores)
1 can coconut milk (do not use the carton-version of coconut milk, which is actually quite watery; go for a can of rich, thick coconut milk)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or more to taste)
2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce (or more to taste)
1 bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp.)
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil

hot rice

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef pieces with salt. Add oil to the pan and when it is hot, brown the beef pieces thoroughly, three pieces at a time, setting pieces aside on a plate as you go.

When all the beef is browned, lower heat to medium, and add onion, garlic, ginger, lime zest, and curry paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Settle beef pieces into the pan (and any accumulated juices from the plate) and cover tightly. Bring to a simmer, then transfer pot to the oven. (Alternately, transfer the coconut milk mixture to a crock pot. Settle the beef pieces into the crock pot. Add the bell pepper. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours. Season with lime juice and adjust seasoning per instructions below.)

Bake for 2-3 hours, or until beef is falling apart (or “fork”) tender. Remove beef pieces to a cutting board. Set pan over medium heat and when it simmers, stir in bell pepper and simmer uncovered for a few minutes until pepper is tender. Stir in lime juice and taste sauce for seasoning – add more fish sauce for saltiness, more sugar for sweetness, more lime for sourness. Stir in scallions and basil. Pull beef into bite-sized pieces and add back to the pan. Serve with hot rice, if desired.

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Older Comments

  1. By FreshTartSteph on November 21, 2010 at 6:16AM

    Thanks Brenda, you're so sweet! Glad the fam loved it, that's about the coolest thing a cook can hear (as you know). Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. By Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles on November 19, 2010 at 6:18PM

    I made this today. AMAZING!! My whole family loved it. I'm so happy to have a new twist on braised beef roast. I can think of several people who would love to have this recipe - I'll pass along this post!

  3. By FreshTartSteph on November 18, 2010 at 9:11AM

    Thanks Heather! I confess, I empty a can into a jar and keep it in the fridge, have been known to take a swig or two per day. Better than ice cream, I think. Mmm.

  4. By Heather Jacobsen on November 17, 2010 at 1:15PM

    I'm with you! I LOVE coconut milk. I even use it as my milk in cereal sometimes, because I can't eat dairy and I get a little tired of soymilk! (carton-version). This looks so yummy that I think I will cook it next week instead of usual red thai curry recipe. Beautiful photographs too!

  5. By FreshTartSteph on November 15, 2010 at 6:16AM

    Thank you! Yes, Thai curries, and lately, I'm sneaking it into a lot of other things (like smoothies!). So delicious.

  6. By Mo Quen Ma on November 13, 2010 at 3:47PM

    This looks so delicious! I love coconut milk; I mostly use it with Thai curries. I'm definitely going to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  7. By FreshTartSteph on November 13, 2010 at 6:23AM

    It is amazing after sitting over night in the fridge, perhaps even better in that way that beef stews are. Good question about keeping the beef out - I did not, but if you were making this for guests, you certainly could. Then I'd reheat the sauce, stir in the the pulled apart beef until heated through, and serve. The beef does "absorb" some of the sauce when it sits in the fridge, a very tasty thing, but leaves you with less sauce. We ate it for three days, the last day I chopped up the beef even smaller and stir-fried it with fresh mushrooms and spinach. It was all fantastic.

  8. By Anonymous on November 12, 2010 at 10:47PM

    Does this keep and heat well? I was thinking to make it for my boyfriend tomorrow. If I made it, went to collect him, and then reheated, do you think it would still be as amazing after sittiing a while? Would you suggest keeping the beef out of the liquid during the waiting period. Thank you! Looks amazing!!!

  9. By FreshTartSteph on November 12, 2010 at 12:08PM

    Brenda - Oh good! You're all set for the incoming cold weather, so cozy.
    Rosemarried - Thank you, I hope you enjoy! I peeked at your lovely blog and seeing the seasonings you love, I'm quite sure you'll be all over it :)

  10. By Rosemarried on November 12, 2010 at 11:20AM

    This looks like the perfect winter meal. I cannot wait to make it!

  11. By Brenda @ a farmgirl’s dabbles on November 11, 2010 at 7:33PM

    I am so looking forward to trying this. I bought some beef chuck roasts on sale a couple weeks ago & stuck them in the freezer. THIS is what I'm making first!

  12. By FreshTartSteph on November 11, 2010 at 10:19AM

    I've never braised tofu, but what I think could work would be to follow the Quick Halibut Curry recipe I linked to above (similar seasonings but quick-cooking), then substitute tofu (perhaps even lightly fried) for the halibut and just simmer for a few minutes. That would be delicious!

  13. By Casey@Good. Food. Stories. on November 11, 2010 at 9:20AM

    I too am OBSESSED with coconut milk and I've got every ingredient except the beef in the fridge right now. Think it would work with tofu?