Monday, December 12, 2011

Korean Short Rib Soup

"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
Mae West

Like all cooks, I tend to go through periods of obsession. I become fixated on a particular ingredient or taste and find myself making meals around the object of my obsession. Lately it's been short ribs. Last week I made braised short ribs. Then I was going to make beef vegetable soup out of beef shanks...but Cub was out of beef shanks. So I bought short ribs and made the most incredible soup from them...but I will save that for a future post.

I was just surfing the web last week looking for short rib recipes when I came across this gem on I made it for dinner last night and it was a huge hit with the family. Both boys had enormous second helpings! And the meal was incredibly easy to make as the soup is cooked in a slow cooker.

If you are a fan of Pho Bo, the Vietnamese soup made with beef and rice noodles, you will love this soup. It's a lot like Pho Bo but with a Korean flair. The flavors are deeper and there is a hint of heat from the sambal oelek. But the crowning glory is the short ribs. They simply melt in your mouth after braising for eight hours in this incredible broth. Short ribs! Shout it out!

So grab your slow cooker and get cooking. While the recipe does not call for browning the short ribs, I always brown my meat before sliding it into the slow cooker. I like the flavor boost that browning provides. This recipe will serve six of your soon-to-be best friends.

Soup Ingredients
5 pounds beef short ribs
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sambal oelek (or chili garlic paste/sauce)
2 tablespoons dark (toasted) sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (separate whites and greens)

Noodles and Garnishes
14 ounces rice noodles
1 carrot, grated
1 small Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, torn
3 limes, cut in wedges


  1. (Optional) Brown short ribs in a large skillet over high heat. Then place them in the slow cooker.
  2. Whisk together the broth, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, chili paste, sesame oil, garlic, and scallion whites. Pour over the ribs. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. About 10 minutes before serving, put the rice noodles in a bowl with boiling water to cover. Soak until tender and pliable, about 10 minutes.
  4. Divide the noodles among 6 large, shallow bowls and ladle the broth from the slow cooker over the top. (Cut the meat from the ribs if desired.) Divide the meat evenly among the bowls. Garnish with the carrots, cucumber, cilantro, lime wedges and the remaining green parts of the scallion (and more chili paste, if you'd like more heat).

    Wine pairing: Zinfandel

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