Alex and I have a rather glorious All-Clad slow cooker in the closet that we almost never use. I am determined to change that this winter. I want to make at least one batch of slow cooker chili and at least one stew (or other braised dish). I guess this recipe would take care of the stew, but let's get a little crazy and make another stew because why not? But seriously, a slow cooker is brilliant for a lazy Sunday wintertime meal. You throw it together in the morning (or the afternoon) and wander off for a few hours. And later that evening you end up with something warm and hearty. Today we started putting dinner together around 3:30 pm. After we seared up the beef and threw it in the slow cooker, we took the dog for a long walk and hung out on the couch for awhile. And then around 7:30 pm dinner was ready! This recipe was fairly labor-intensive for a slow cooker recipe - there were several stages and several pots used, but it simmered away unattended for 3 plus hours, which was nice. The dish that finally emerged from the slow cooker was warm, rich and comforting - perfect for a slightly chilly lazy Sunday. It had a rich meaty flavor from the beef and the beef stock, plus a nice sweetness to the broth overlayed with the aroma of toasted sesame oil. With each bite you got shreds of sweet cabbage, hunks of tender beef, steamed rice, and the slight crunch of bean sprouts. My favorite element might have been the pickles. I really loved the how the pickles provided lovely little bursts of acidity and a little heat. And they held up a lot better once we added them in the slow cooker than I thought they would. I took a few bites and told Alex to break out the kimchi because I thought the kimchi would be a nice spicy side and would provide some complimentary (but absent) flavors and a nice textural contrast. When I asked Alex what he thought about the stew he said (and I quote) "I think it was very good - I think serving it with kimchi made it better."
Recipe after the jump!