I don’t know that much about ASMR, but listening to a bubbling pot of stew is a great way to relax. I like a classic beef stew like French beef bourguignon, but I wanted to put a new twist on it to make things a little spicier and interesting. Enter: beef bourguignjang, made with spicy Korean gochujang, aka hot red chile paste, common in stews like kimchi-jjigae and stir-fried rice cakes called tteokbokki. It’s super thick, crimson red, and made of gochugaru (red chile pepper flakes), fermented soybeans (kinda like miso, super umami), salt, and glutinous rice (aka sticky rice). The sticky rice actually adds an underlying sweetness to the paste, so it’s not super IN-YOUR-FACE spicy. Adding it to a slow-simmered beef stew brings extra depth of flavor, the right amount of spiciness, umami, and a bright red color. Once you have a tub (I like Chung Jung One, which is about $5 at an Asian grocery store and $8 on Amazon), use a little in your stir-fries, salad dressings, on roasted vegetables, or anything that needs a little more oomph.
- 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 pound carrots (about 4 medium or 6 small), peeled and cut into chunks
- 8 whole peeled garlic cloves
- ¼ cup gochujang (such as Chung Jung One)
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- One 750 ml. bottle dry red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
- 2 cups low-sodium beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound frozen pearl onions, defrosted
- 1 pound button mushrooms, preferably small (about ½ inch); halved or quartered if larger
- 3 tablespoons flour, plus more as needed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Set a rack on the lower third of the oven and clear out all other racks.
Pat the meat dry and season it generously on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until rendered and crisp, 8–9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the bacon to a bowl but leave the bacon in the Dutch oven.
Working in two batches and adding 1 tablespoon of oil with each batch, sear the meat, trying not to move it, until deep brown on all sides, turning every now and then and adding more oil if necessary, 8–10 minutes per batch; transfer to a plate. Leave about 2 tablespoons of meat drippings and oil in the Dutch oven, then add the onions, carrots, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often until the onions are lightly golden and the carrots are slightly softened, 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and gochujang and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, 2 minutes.
Return the meat to the pan, then add the wine, all but 3 tablespoons of the stock (you’ll use it later), bay leaf, thyme, and another teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, stir, and cover tightly (use a layer of foil between the pot and the lid for insurance). Move to the oven and cook until the meat is tender but could still use some more time to be perfect, about 1 hour, 45 minutes.
After 1 ½ hours, melt the butter and remaining tablespoon oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring every minute or two, until the vegetables turn golden on the edges, 6–7 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a small bowl, whisk the reserved 3 tablespoons beef stock and the flour with a fork until smooth.
Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, uncover, then add the flour mixture, onions, mushrooms, and the remaining teaspoon of salt.
Re-cover, then return the Dutch oven to the oven and cook until the meat is tender and the sauce has concentrated, 1 hour (if it looks thin, dissolve 1 additional tablespoon flour in 1 tablespoon of water, then add and cook through an additional 5 minutes to thicken). Uncover, remove the bay leaf, season with more salt if needed, and divide among bowls. Garnish with parsley.