Plenty of vibrant colors and flavors in this dish. Plenty of healthy components as well. Even picky eaters can navigate this deliciousness. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know one of my favorite characteristics in a dish is versatility. Well, this baby’s got versatility! Delicious versatility.
A full house, lots of mouths to feed, endless pitchers of cocktails, fire burning away, opened presents, laughter, red cheeks, and chocolate (always chocolate). With all this excitement of the season, it’s nice to have an easy, healthy, and crowd pleasing meal in your back pocket. Right? (Your answer … YES)
I like to set up a “do it yourself” buffet. Guests can assemble their own wraps. Lettuce serves as the perfect vessel for this juicy Korean beef, but I always offer tortilla shells as well. Leave your crock pot on the ‘keep warm’ setting, set out lettuce cups, tortilla shells, little bowls of toppings and condiments. Ka boom…time for your guests to go to town.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy “the most wonderful time of the year.” Happy Holidays!
Ingredients for Korean Beef:
- 3-4 lb boneless chuck roast
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 Asian pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 red chili, sliced (I used a Fresno chili pepper and left the seeds in for heat)
Ingredients for Lettuce Wraps:
- 3 Romain lettuce hearts, outer leaves discarded (or another type of lettuce that will make “cups”, Boston lettuce is a great choice)
- 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice (I like Trader Joe’s White Jasmine Rice)
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 red bell peppers, sliced
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced (I used a vegetable peeler to cut thin strands)
- Hot sauce, if desired
- Additional topping options: thinly sliced red onion, sliced radish, diced cucumber, sliced fresh jalapeno, slivered almonds
Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil over medium heat in a cast iron pan (or saute pan). Add roast to pan and sear on all sides to develop a nice outer crust. Total cook/sear time is approximately 10 minutes. Place roast into the bowl of your crock pot.
Combine Asian pear, scallions, garlic, and fresh ginger in the bowl of food processor or blender. Process until well combined, and reserve.
In a medium bowl, add brown sugar and warm water. Stir until brown sugar has dissolved. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, black pepper, red chili, and reserved pear mixture. Stir until well combined, and add to crock pot with the seared beef.
Cook on low for 8 hours. At this point, the beef will be falling apart. Remove beef from crock pot, shred with 2 forks, and reserve.
Remove cooking liquid from the crock pot and place into a large measuring cup or bowl (you will have approximately 4 cups of cooking liquid). Allow cooking liquid to settle and skim any fat off the top. (Note: it is best to use a see through measuring cup or bowl with spout so you can see the fat that needs to be skimmed and easily transfer liquid back into the crock pot.) Reserve skimmed cooking liquid (at this point you will have approximately 3 1/2 cups left).
Add shredded beef and 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid back into the crock pot. Return crock pot to low heat and cook for an additional 15 minutes. (Note: I added another 1/2 cup of cooking liquid to the beef at this point and discarded the rest.)
Assemble lettuce wraps. I like to make mine as follows: 1 lettuce leaf, 2 tbsp white jasmine rice, 2 tbsp Korean beef, sliced red bell pepper, shaved carrots, a few scallions, few sesame seeds, and a drizzle of hot sauce. Enjoy!
Servings: 6-8 (Serving size: 3-4 lettuce wraps)