Slow Cooker Beef Lettuce Wraps with Quick Pickles

Do you have any magazine subscriptions?  Don’t you get excited when a new issue shows up in the mail?  I get a little rush of joy every time I open the mailbox and see a new copy Cooking Light.  That is where this gem comes from.  You guys know I am a big fan of my slow cooker AKA crockpot.  But, soups and stews get really old really fast for me.  So, I am always on the lookout for slow cooker recipes that make ANYTHING other than stews.

When I saw this recipe in this month’s issue I immediately dog eared the corner of the page.  I just KNEW I was going to have to try this one.  Boy am I glad I did!  These little lettuce cups were delicious!  And, bonus, they were easy.  It is so nice to come home to a dinner that is either complete or at least 90% complete.  All this required was a couple of final steps and dinner was on the table in no time!

Because you have stewed the meat all day in your slow cooker, it is fall apart tender and all the seasonings that it cooked in all day have left it with a deep rich flavor that you just can’t get any other way.

Now, the recipe DOES ask you to sear the meat before it goes into the slow cooker.  I know, I know.  I hate those kinds of recipes too.  The whole idea is to just dump it all into the pot in the morning and then dash off to work.  How am I supposed to have time to stand in my kitchen searing a huge chunk of meat at 6:30 in the morning?  This time I discovered the answer!  I didn’t do it in the morning.  I prepped everything the night before.  I cut up my onion, and crushed my garlic and put them into a gallon size resealable bag.  THEN, I seared the beef and placed it in the bag on top of the onions and garlic.  I am also convinced that those flavors permeated the meat overnight.  Added bonus!

I mixed up all of my liquid ingredients and put them in a plastic container and stashed them in the fridge next to the bag.  By doing these things the night before, it left me all ready the next morning to plop everything in the slow cooker and go!  Meat searing, and prep problem solved!

Now you know how I did it.  Below is the original recipe and their steps.  Just do it my way to make your morning easier.  LOL!



Cooking spray
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1/2 cup unsalted beef stock
1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
11 tablespoons rice vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1 tablespoon white miso (soybean paste)
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
3/4 cup julienne-cut carrot
1 cup water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
16 Bibb lettuce leaves
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds


1. Coat bottom and sides of a 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer onion slices in bottom of slow cooker; top with garlic.

2. Heat canola oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chuck roast to pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place beef on top of onions and garlic; pour any drippings from pan over top.

3. Combine stock, soy sauce, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and next 4 ingredients (through red pepper) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Pour mixture over beef and onions in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

4. Place cucumber and carrot in 2 shallow bowls 15 minutes before meat is done. Combine remaining 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; divide vinegar mixture evenly between cucumbers and carrots. Let stand until ready to serve; drain well.

5. Transfer beef from slow cooker to a large platter; shred with 2 forks. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; add shredded beef to pan, pressing into an even layer. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, without stirring. Turn off heat. Sprinkle evenly with salt and 1/4 cup cooking liquid from slow cooker; toss to coat. Discard remaining cooking liquid, onions, and garlic. Divide beef and pickles among lettuce leaves; sprinkle with sesame seeds.



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