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Crock-Pot Kalbi Jjim [Beef Short Rib Stew]


Serves: 4-6


This wintery dish simply speaks to us, a recipe that uses traditional Korean flavors, but with a preparation that is wholly American. The Crock-Pot was invented in 1971 by a Chicagoan named Irving Naxon, whose grandmother grew up eating slow-cooked cholent in her Lithuanian shtetl. With Naxon’s electric slow-cooker, a generation of Americans was raised on the culinary principal of “set it and forget it.” This recipe has been created with just that in mind. After going low and slow for six hours, beef ribs become fall-off-the-bone tender while the vegetables glaze themselves in a robust, umami-rich sauce. There’s natural sweetness from the apples and mirin and a savory edge from the soy sauce. It’s a can’t-lose combination.


For many Koreans, kalbi jjim is considered a special-occasion dish, the one Mom makes to celebrate big life achievements, like acing that big calculus test or being named All State in tennis. This is because short ribs are expensive, especially in Korea. When preparing our

version, it’s important to take care with the initial sear on the ribs. Using the proper technique will pay dividends in the end, so fight the urge to flip quickly.


If you can plan ahead, we recommend that you make this the day before serving. Refrigeration will allow the fat to solidify at the top, which can be easily spooned out. Reheat gently, and you’ve got yourself a winning dish. And here’s the move. Take it to a party and tell your friends it’s beef stew. They probably will shrug because, really, who brings beef stew to a party? But the joke is on them: Stew will be dispersed. Umami will speak. The party will listen.


1 cup light soy sauce

¼ cup mirin

¼ cup sake

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon black pepper

½ cup, peeled and chopped daikon radish

1 Korean pear, peeled, cored and sliced or (any pears/applefruits) 1 red apple, peeled, cored and sliced

4 garlic cloves

4 pounds beef shanks

1 teaspoon vegetable oil Kosher salt and black pepper

4 large Yukon Gold potatoes, roughly chopped 1 medium onion, quartered

1 medium carrot, large dice

6 dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped 1 cup Beef Stock (page 000)


  1. sourdough bread for garnish


    1. In a blender, blend the soy sauce, mirin, sake, black pepper, daikon radish, Asian pear, apple and garlic until smooth.


    2. Rub the short ribs with the vegetable oil and season with ample kosher salt and pepper. Set a large cast iron pan over high heat, and, when very hot, sear the ribs until golden-brown on all sides, 3-5 minutes per side. Only sear as many ribs as will fit comfortably in the pan; work in batches if necessary. Resist the urge to turn the meat before each surface has formed a crust. Trust us, it will pay off in the end! Drain the seared ribs of their fat.


    3. Place the seared meat at the bottom of a crock pot or slow cooker. Add the potatoes, onion, carrot and mushrooms on top. Cover with a layer of rice cakes then pour in soy sauce mixture and stock on top. The sauce may have settled, so give it a good stir before pouring.


    4. Cook on the crock pot’s low setting until the meat is fork tender and falls off the bone, about 6 hours.


    Alternatively, if not using a crock pot: If you’re not down with the electric cooker, that is very much OK. Sear the meat in a Dutch oven, drain the fat, and layer in the vegetables, rice cakes, sauce and beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the meat is fork tender, about 2 hours.


    A note on buying short ribs: Short ribs are expensive, and rightly so: They are delicious and prized for their fat content and ability to get really tender. You can find quality bone-in short ribs at your local butcher shop or any Korean grocery store. Make sure there is a good meat-to-bone ratio: Though Korean markets sometimes cut off a portion of the top to sell as boneless short ribs, there should be a thick slab of meat on top, even a good inch or two if you are lucky.


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    5 Quick Kimchis To Keep In Your Fridge. Always.

    Makes enough marinade for about 1 pound of vegetables


    A common perception is that kimchi refers to the spicy pickled cabbage you find anywhere grape jelly, Coke Zero and sriracha is sold...which is basically every store these days. Indeed, Napa cabbage kimchi is one of the most popular types, and you will find our recipe on page

    000. But really, kimchi is simply a pickling technique, not a single item. Many things, like cucumbers, chives and apples can also be kimchi’d. The recipe we offer here is a good place to start: It’s a flavorful kimchi base that can be used to pickle a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, though five in particular pop into our heads.


    Make the Kimchi Marinade

    This is what gives the kimchi its guts: a blend of sweetness, heat and brininess. Using a quality fish sauce is important, so we prefer to spend a little bit extra on a smaller-batch Vietnamese- American brand called Red Boat.


    Makes about 1 cup


    1/2 cup chopped Korean pear (or apple) 1/2 cup gochugaru, coarsely ground

    1/4 cup fish sauce

  2. garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons sugar

  1. teaspoons minced ginger


    1. Add the pear, gochugaru, fish sauce, garlic, sugar and ginger to a blender and blend until smooth.


    Make the Cure Mix

    This simple cure is used to draw out extra liquid and add additional seasoning. Makes 6 tablespoons

  2. tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons Kosher salt


1. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and salt.

Now you are ready to kimchi [verb]! PERSIAN CUCUMBERS

Persian cucumbers are easily found and incredibly refreshing, which is why they’re a banchan fixture. You can also substitute Kirby or English varieties; just make sure you drain the excess liquid before adding the Kimchi Marinade.


1 pound Persian cucumbers, sliced ¼-inch-thick


1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the cucumber and 1 tablespoon of the Cure Mix; let sit 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid then add 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve. This kimchi will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated.


DAIKON RADISH

Daikon radish is another common kimchi, which soaks up the marinade phenomenally well and remains addictively crisp for a few days.


4 pounds daikon radish, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes


1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the daikon and 4 tablespoons of the Cure Mix; let sit 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid then add 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve. This kimchi will keep up to 2 weeks, refrigerated, but is at its most crisp within a few days.


GARLIC CHIVE OR SPRING ONION

One of our all time favorites is garlic chive, which are different than regular chives and can be

found at most Asian grocery stores. Garlic chives are longer and have flatter leaves. The flavor is more mild and slightly sweet. You can also use spring onions or, hell we’re going to say it...ramps.


1 pound Korean chives or spring onions, cut into 2-inch batons


1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the chives and 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade. Refrigerate for 1 day. This kimchi will keep up to 2 weeks, refrigerated.


BOK CHOY

Bok choy is a nice substitution for Napa cabbage. It’s neutral and absorbs the kimchi marinade really well, which preserving a bit of crunch. It also looks really cool in the jar, and on the plate.


1 pound baby bok choy, washed thoroughly and cut in half


1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the baby bok choy and 2 tablespoons of the Cure Mix; let sit 15 minutes. Drain the excess liquid then add 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate for 2 days. This kimchi will keep 1 week, refrigerated.


PINEAPPLE/MELON

Pineapple is our own invention, and we just have to pat ourselves on the back a little bit for it. When we first made it in the test kitchen, we couldn’t stop eating it -- with all its sweetness and acid and spice and tang and funk. It goes incredibly well with grilled meat, on a taco or with a bowl of ramyun. And in general, if you have any leftover marinade, dig through your refrigerator to see what else can be kimchi’d.


1 large pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes


1. In a large pickling jar or lidded container, combine the pineapple and 1 cup of the Kimchi Marinade, stirring to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours. This kimchi will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated— but honestly, it’s not going to last that long.