New recipe: Thai Red Curry Beef Skillet

New Recipe: Thai Red Curry Beef Skillet

This one-skillet curry uses classic Thai flavor combinations for a spicy, creamy and bright main course. The best part? It takes just 45 minutes.

We all need a few sophisticated, low-maintenance dinner recipes in our back pockets secret weapons that we can just whip together and impress. Trust me: this Thai red curry beef skillet recipe by Brittany Conerly is one that you can go ahead and bookmark.

This skillet wins on a few counts: First, you only need to deal with one pan. And with just 15 minutes of active cooking time, you can be done with it in under an hour.

It’s also kind of fancy. Exotic ingredients like red curry paste and Thai basil pack major flavor.

And lastly, it’s a high-protein, calorie-smart meal that will satisfy you. The combo of Thai beef with sweet, creamy coconut milk and toasted cashews is balanced with lighter ingredients for a meal that's rich without being overly indulgent. Add in spicy chiles, bright bell peppers, peppery Thai basil, zingy lime, and fragrant ginger — all centered by that garlicky Thai curry base — and you’re in business. To trim a few calories and some fat, sub in light coconut milk.

When you’re putting this dish together, it’s best to use chuck steak that’s chopped into small pieces, or the stew meat that your grocer has on hand. You can also use skirt steak if that’s easier, but just be sure to cut it against the grain so the finished dish isn't stringy.

If you can’t find red curry paste, it’s worth making an extra trip to a specialty store or ordering it online. Not only will it taste amazing here, but you can use it to dial up umami in other Asian-style sauces, curries, and soups. And if you don’t have easy access to Thai basil, try using about one and a half times the amount of regular basil.

Start your beef curry by drizzling the olive oil into a large skillet and turning the burner up to medium heat. Add the minced garlic cloves and fresh ginger. Sauté this mixture for a few minutes, or until a tantalizing garlic-ginger aroma starts to waft around your kitchen.

Where’s the beef? Hopefully on your kitchen counter, because it’s next up in the pan. You’ll want to add it to the ginger-garlic mixture, browning it lightly on all sides to seal in those precious juices. This should take about five to six minutes (still over medium heat).

Toss in that flavorful Thai red curry paste, sliced Serrano chili (it helps to wear plastic gloves when cutting chilies, or even use the exterior of the plastic bag they came in to carefully shield your fingers from the spicy oils) and thinly sliced basil. Cook all this together for a few minutes more.

When the sauce is nice and thick (and your mouth is watering from the beefy ginger garlic curry smells), pour over the beef broth and coconut milk and give it a stir. (I also recommend leaning in and deeply inhaling at this point.)

Bring this melting pot of Thai flavors to a simmer, then add the kosher salt, thinly sliced yellow and red bell peppers, brown sugar, and fresh lime juice. You’ll then cover it and let it gently infuse into the liquid for 15 to 20 minutes over low heat.

At this point, feel free to throw together a pot of jasmine rice. Or, chop up some sweet potatoes and toss them in the broiler for a grain-free alternative.

When your curry has thickened and your beef is nice and tender, taste it. You may want more salt or lime juice, depending on your preferences; you can also serve the curry with lime wedges and let your diners season to taste. After it’s seasoned to your liking, sprinkle toasted cashews and freshly torn mint and basil over the top. Voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious Thai red curry beef skillet dinner.