Can you believe it? Season 5 of Wingin’ It! Where has the time gone? For any newcomers, here’s the premise. It’s hungry work being a fan of the Buffalo Bills. Every week of the regular and postseason, Buffalo Rumblings brings you a recipe to try out with a “Buffalo” twist.
The NFL season kicks off with the Buffalo Bills visiting the Los Angeles Rams. One of the great things about this series is learning new things, like the fact that Los Angeles is home to a significant Korean population. Credit to jg funk for the tip and also for this week’s idea of bibimbap. Research tells me that the rice bowl is fair game for whatever veggies and proteins you want to toss at it so feel free to depart from my choices. The whole thing is tied together with a red pepper paste called gochujang, which I had never heard of until jg funk brought it up. For the purists, yes I know there’s often an egg on top, but I made enough of a mess in the kitchen where I didn’t need to add another pan into the mix.
Serves: About 4
Active Time: 25 min
Total Time: 30 min
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice (and water according to package directions)
1 medium zucchini, sliced to quarter-inch thickness
3 Tbsp gochujang paste
1 Tbsp white vinegar
5 Tbsp cranberry/grape juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Olive oil (regular works best for pan cooking)
1 container (20 oz) sliced mushrooms
1 lb beef, your choice on cut, sliced into small chunks (about 1” by 1⁄2”)
1 1⁄2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Cook rice per package instructions. If you’re quick with the steps below, it should time out pretty well with the rice. It might not be exact but close enough to still have hot rice.
- Place zucchini in a single layer on a sheet of foil, cooking pan, or similar surface. Sprinkle liberally with salt (see below for more information).
- Add gochujang paste, vinegar, and juice to a small pan on LOW, stirring until smooth.
- Stir in brown sugar and leave on LOW heat, stirring occasionally.
- Pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large frying pan; preheat on HIGH (see below if you’re into multitasking).
- Blot zucchini with a clean paper towel to remove moisture and excess salt. Sprinkle with pepper to taste.
- Add zucchini to frying pan, stirring frequently until individual pieces start to show some charring, about 4-5 min. Remove zucchini and set aside.
- Add sliced mushrooms to frying pan, stirring frequently until individual pieces begin to char, about 4-5 min; season with salt and pepper. Remove mushrooms and set aside.
- Add beef to frying pan, stirring frequently until individual pieces begin to char, about 4-5 min; season with salt and pepper. Remove beef and set aside.
- Remove sauce mixture from heat and stir in butter.
- Arrange bowl starting with prepared rice, adding veggies and beef, and finally drizzling with sauce.
Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery
Let’s get one thing out of the way before I go on to tips and tricks. This can come together very quickly, but it’ll come with a heavy cleaning toll. You can adjust a couple things to cut down on the aftermath, but it might sacrifice some flavor. The instructions above are good for using a single frying pan without sacrificing flavor, but might increase the time a bit. I’ll give two other strategies at the bottom to consider after some more specific tips.
In our first picture, I have the zucchini close up to show you what the salting technique does for you. All that water on top of those came from the zucchini itself. The salt pulls it out quite effectively. Blotting that water off will allow a quick sear/char on the veggie without turning it to mush. Picture two shows the zucchini nearly done in the pan. Notice that everything is holding its shape but is showing off some char.
Picture three is a good segue into our two other strategies as it’s me doing my alternate method two below.
Alternate method one: You can cook things faster by just tossing the beef and veggies all into the pan together. Don’t toss them in all at once though. I’d do beef (always first for food safety reasons), then mushrooms, then zucchini with a couple minutes between each. I only recommend this if you really need to eat in a hurry. Olive oil and beef will create something like a gravy and the veggies will lose their distinctive flavor. If you’re also the proud owner of a wok and know how to use it, you can do this with less oil and less impact to the veggies. The rule of thumb I was taught for wok cooking, is to start with the highest density food item and add items working to least dense.
Alternate method two: If you’re prepped for multitasking, this is the fastest to meal time and will retain all the flavor. Prep two fry pans in Step 6 instead of one (technically one of mine was a sauté pan). Add the zucchini to one and get it about half done. Then add the beef to the second pan. Remove the zucchini quickly from the first pan when you see the charring, and toss in the mushrooms. For most of this process, you’ll need to be stirring both pans regularly so this is a bit more frantic too.
Finally, if you look closely I didn’t try to conceal the results of this in the picture. There’s a good amount of oil spattered around the stove top. I very rarely advise cooking on HIGH because it increases the danger to you significantly, makes a mess way more likely, and rarely benefits the final product to any significant degree. This is one of those rare recipes where it matter a lot to the final product. Be careful with this one, especially if you’re using extra pans.