Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Napa Cabbage and Pickles


Napa cabbage and thinly sliced sour pickles add texture and tang to this hearty stew. Searing the pieces of beef chuck before putting them in the slow cooker gives the stew a rich flavor. 

Slow Cooker Korean Beef Stew with Napa Cabbage and Pickles
Photo: © Fredrika Stjärne
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 3 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 3-inch pieces

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 1 quart beef stock or low-sodium broth

  • 2 medium red onions, quartered through the core

  • 6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

  • 2 large jalapeños—halved, seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick

  • 2 cups mung bean sprouts

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 4 cups coarsely chopped Napa cabbage

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced sour pickles

  • Steamed short grain rice, toasted sesame oil, and 3 thinly sliced scallions, for serving


  1. In a very large skillet, heat the oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sear the pieces over moderately high heat until richly browned all over. Transfer the meat to a large slow cooker, turn it to high and cover.

  2. Wipe out the skillet and return it to the burner. Add the soy sauce, sugar, wine and stock and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the onions, cover and cook for 2 hours. Add the garlic and jalapeños to the stew, cover and cook for 1 hour longer, until the meat is very tender.

  3. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the bean sprouts and blanch for 30 seconds; drain. Put the cornstarch in a bowl and whisk in 1/2 cup of the liquid from the cooker.

  4. With a slotted spoon, pick out and discard the onions. Transfer the meat to a large bowl. Whisk the cornstarch mixture, then whisk it into the stew, cover and let simmer for 2 minutes. With 2 forks, very coarsely shred the meat. Return the meat to the cooker. Add the Napa cabbage and pickles to the cooker, cover and cook until the cabbage is just wilted, about 5 minutes. Turn the cooker off.

  5. Spoon steamed rice into bowls. Ladle the stew over and around the rice. Top with the beans sprouts, a drizzle of sesame oil and the sliced scallions and serve.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature and reheat gently.

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