Japanese Beef Fondue-Shabu-Shabu
6 cups rich beef broth
5 whole green onions, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
8-10 whole black peppercorns, cracked
Fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce, or to taste
2 ounces (1 small bundle) cellophane noodles, see note
3 medium carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced on the sharp diagonal
2¼ pounds rib-eye steak (or beef tenderloin), partially frozen
5 ounces (half a bag) fresh spinach, tough stems removed
6 whole green onions, cut into 1½-inch pieces
10-12 fresh shiitake mushroom caps, cut into 1/2-inch thick strips
½ head Napa cabbage, cored, cut into 21/2-inch squares
Very thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
For the broth: Combine the broth, green onions, garlic, black peppercorns, ginger and soy sauce in a small stock pot. Bring to a boil over high heat; immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the broth has reduced by about 1 cup, about 1 hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, then taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with soy sauce; transfer to a fondue pot set over a burner. The broth should remain at a low simmer throughout the meal.
For the dippers: Prepare the cellophane noodles according to the package instructions; drain well. Using a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, cut the noodles into 3-inch pieces; set aside until needed.
Cook the carrots in rapidly boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes; immediately plunge into an ice water bath. Drain well, then pat dry with paper towels; set aside until needed.
Cut the partially frozen beef (across the grain) into paper-thin slices; attractively arrange the meat on a platter in overlapping circles. Add the vegetables to the platter, arranging in a pleasing pattern. (Note: Do not add the noodles to the platter.)
Make sure that each guest has a fondue fork, a pair of chopsticks, 2 individual sauce bowls filled with sesame sauce and ponzu sauce, a soup bowl and a soup spoon.
Place the fondue pot in the center of the table; have each guest cook their selected dippers in the simmering broth, then dip into their choice of sauce. When all of the meat and vegetable dippers are gone, add the noodles to the broth to make a soup; ladle the soup into each guest's individual bowl. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.
Chef Christopher Green, Viking Cooking School and Culinary Shop, Glenview