You know the drill. It’s your night to cook dinner, and you’ve got big plans for miso-glazed salmon with mashed sweet potatoes topped with a drizzle of sage-infused oil and a side of garlic-rubbed bok choy. Or maybe you’re thinking of whipping up some butter poached lobster with string beans, almonds, and pink Himalayan sea salt and a side of heirloom cherry tomato salad to complete the meal. Except… You know come crunch time you’ll be bee-lining for the frozen hot dogs and a can of beans. Instead, dazzle her with this impressive but easy-to-pull-off recipe from the Natural Gourmet Institute, a health-supportive culinary school in New York City that also offers public classes and a variety of other programs.
Not familiar with kimchi? You’ll want to be. The spicy fermented cabbage condiment is rich in vitamins and contains good-for-your-gut bacteria called probiotics. It’s also got fiber, which along with the plentiful veggies in this dish, help you stay fuller for longer, staving off hunger between meals.
This stew gets another flavor spike from spicy and powerful gochujang, another traditional Korean condiment that is based on chili paste, and also brings sweet heat to roasted squash (a perfect fall delight), swirled into a vinaigrette or even come brunch booze time, whisked into tomato juice for an updated bloody mary. To tone down the heat, try using less kimchi and gochujang or accompanied with a dairy product like a dollop of unsweetened greek yogurt in a small serving dish, to mellow out the heat.
Perfect for Meatless Mondays (if the lady gave you the weeknight shift again), this dish also pairs well with shrimp or other seafood. But if you’d like to keep it vegetarian while bulking it up, try adding diced tofu or more veggies (whatever you have on hand works nicely, but try adding some other types of mushrooms or dark, leafy greens if you have ‘em lying around). To round out the meal, serve it with brown rice or preferred grain of choice. Serving it up for a night in with the boys (or just trying to kick the romance up a notch)? Pair it with a light-bodied beer or a dry Riesling.
(Yield: 4 servings)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium leek, thinly sliced, thoroughly cleaned
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into thin sticks
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 16 ounces kimchi
- 6 ounces Tteok (sliced Korean rice cakes)
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and sliced into ribbons
- 4 pastured eggs, poached
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces enoki mushrooms
Directions: Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced leek and ginger and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add gochujang and stir to coat the vegetables. Add vegetable stock, kimchi, and tteok. Reduce heat and simmer until kimchi is softened, 25-30 minutes. Stir in kale and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Serve kimchi stew topped with poached egg, sesame seeds, scallions, and enoki mushrooms.
For more great recipes, check out The Natural Gourmet Institute blog here.