Friday, October 10, 2008

Samgyeopsal...Sounds Good to Me!

I was perusing Andy & Loey's Only Planet blog last week, on a day that I happened to be trying to plan the week's menu, and came across their posts about Korea. (If you've never checked out Only Planet, go for it. It's a blog all about doing that thing I could never do, selling it all and going around the world.) In their posts, they mentioned enjoying a dish called Samgyeopsal, which I (of course) proceeded to look up. It happens to be a popular Korean dinner dish involving slices of grilled pork belly, served in lettuce leaves with rice and a dipping sauce. I decided that it sounded like a novel use for my homemade bacon, and penciled it in. 
A few nights later, Hubband grilled thick slices of bacon and wedges of onions while I boiled some long-grain brown jasmine rice and sauteed mushrooms with ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. We bundled the bacon, onions, and mushrooms into lettuce leaves along with sliced scallions and bean sprouts, and served with the rice and some (very) hot chili sauce for dipping.

Delicious! It was a great, fast dinner for a weeknight, and a nice departure from typical dinner fare. I've made lettuce wraps before with a chopped or ground chicken filling, never bacon. Traditional Samqyeopsal is made with unmarinated, uncured pork belly, but I really liked the smoky flavor of the bacon with with crisp veggies and spicy sauce. 

This recipe is highly adaptable depending on how many mouths you're feeding, so I'm not going to give many concrete measurements. This is simple, delicious food. 

Thick-sliced bacon or uncured pork belly
Mushrooms, e.g button or cremini
Sesame Oil
Mung Bean Sprouts
Lettuce leaves (Boston/Butter is my favorite for wraps, but Iceberg works too)
Hot Sauce/Sriracha/Gochujang

Cut onion into wedges through the root, which will help them stay together on the grill. Brush them lightly with olive oil, then place them on a preheated grill over indirect heat. After a few minutes, add the strips of bacon, and cook until bacon is heated through and onions are softened and have nice char marks. If using uncured pork belly, be sure pork is completely cooked. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Saute sliced mushrooms in a hot skillet until shrunken and golden, using a little cooking spray if necessary to keep them from sticking. When close to finished, add minced garlic and ginger. (I used about 1 1/2 tsp of each for a pint of mushrooms.) Add toasted sesame oil to taste. (I used about 1/2 tsp.) Place bacon/pork belly, onions, mushroom mixture, sliced scallions, and bean sprouts in lettuce wraps, and serve with rice and hot sauce. 

No comments: