Korean Braised Beef Lettuce Wraps with Asian Pear Slaw

Recipes

Salty, spicy, tangy, and over-all delicious – you’ll be delighted with these wraps! This is a spin on a recipe from Melissa Clark at Epicurious, and while I love the use of the pressure cooker, you can make this easily without one (see *note at the end of recipe). I found that the preparation lent itself beautifully to a hand-held treat.  Some ingredients may be difficult to find, but if you’re able to get to an Asian grocer they will have all of these things. This is a great time to go out and support our local Asian grocers, as fear of the Coronavirus has made many people avoid them. I urge you to get out to these stores, there is so many delicious treats waiting for you!

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 lbs                       beef blade stew
2 tsp                      sweet paprika
2 tsp                      Korean (gochugaru) chili flakes (if you can’t find this, regular chili flakes will do)
1 tbsp                    salt
½ tsp                    black pepper
1 tbsp                    vegetable oil
1                             onion, diced
4                             garlic cloves, minced or grated on a microplane
1 tbsp                    fresh ginger, minced or grated on a microplane
1 cup                     lager or pilsner beer (Asian beer like Hite (Korean) or Sapporo (Japanese) is great for this)
1.5 tbsp                 ketchup
1.5 tbsp                 soy sauce
¼ cup                   gochujang (fermented chili paste)
1 tbsp                    brown sugar
2 tsp                      Asian fish sauce
1 tsp                      sesame oil

Asian Pear Slaw

½                           Asian pear, sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)*
1 cup                      napa (Chinese) cabbage, shredded
½ cup                   Kim Chi, chopped finely
1                             small carrot, peeled and sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)*
2 inch                    daikon piece, peeled and sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)*
2 tbsp                    green onion, sliced
1                              lime, juiced
1 tsp                       sesame oil
1 tbsp                    vegetable oil
to taste                 salt and pepper

To Assemble

12 leaves              iceberg lettuce, rinsed and dried
1 cup                     short grained rice, rinsed and cooked as per package instructions
2 tbsp                   ssamjang (fermented bean paste)
½ cup                   Korean dried chili threads (optional)

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the stewing beef with the paprika, chili, salt and pepper. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours (and up to 8 hours).
  2. Turn your pressure cooker to the sauté setting, and add the vegetable oil. Add the beef and sear until brown all over. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside to rest.
  3. Add the onions to the pot and sauté until slightly soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for another 3 minutes until very fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up any good brown bits on the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the meat back to the pot. Add the ketchup, soy sauce, gochujang, brown sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Stir well.
  5. Turn the setting to high pressure, seal the cooker, and set it for one hour. After the hour is up, let it naturally release the pressure for half an hour, then manually release the rest of the steam.
  6. Meanwhile, make the slaw. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss, seasoning to taste. Make the rice as per the package instructions.
  7. To assemble the lettuce wraps, place a tablespoon or two of rice into a lettuce leaf. Smear a tsp of ssamjang on the rice, then add 2 tbsp or more of the braised beef on top. Top the beef with the slaw, and finish with a pinch of the chili threads (if using). Serve individually or on a platter.

*Note: If braising the beef in a regular pot, add 2 cups of chicken stock to the recipe. When making the slaw, if you don’t have a mandolin you can grate the vegetables with the large holes of a box grater.

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