Bulkogi Stew, a mixture of beef steak, potato starch noodles, green onions and broth, is enjoyed as part of the Korean harvest festival, Chuseok. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Bulkogi Stew, a mixture of beef steak, potato starch noodles, green onions and broth, is enjoyed as part of the Korean harvest festival, Chuseok. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

A hearty stew to celebrate harvest and loved ones

Bulkogi Stew makes for a perfect drizzly Chuseok in Alaska

The fairies have been hard at work ushering in the season of spirits. My garden is ready for harvest, the reward for months of effort and care. I have been out gathering the bounty of wild foods nature has provided, preserving summer sunlight for darker days ahead.

I was born in the fall, so this is my season for reflection and resolutions, and when I feel most aware of my position in the passage of time, and of my connection to the earth and my family.

This past weekend was the Korean thanksgiving holiday, Chuseok. Along with the delicious meals and festivities, some observe a traditional ceremony to honor departed ancestors with an elaborate offering of food and drink, and a deep bow of reverence and gratitude. It is also common to prepare a small offering of foods to be left just outside the house for the spirits of strangers who may be nearby.

I always love an opportunity to practice my Korean recipes, so I prepared a Chuseok feast for just the three of us, and it took all day to make our many side dishes.

I was gifted solitude while I prepared, and so had plenty of time to recall memories of my departed loved ones, and to recognize the many blessings of my life in the spirit of the holiday.

I haven’t yet successfully made the quintessential sweet rice cakes, but I served plenty of the fried pancakes that are also traditionally on the menu, as well as the last of my homegrown kimchi, now quite ripe.

It is still hot in Korea, so this savory stew isn’t exactly traditional for the holiday, but it was perfect for our drizzly Chuseok celebration. This dish is often served with a few extra ingredients that are hard to come by, like chrysanthemum greens and enoki mushrooms, that I excluded from my recipe.

Bulkogi Stew

1 pound beef steak (tenderloin or skirt steak work nicely) sliced very thinly

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

4 large garlic cloves, minced fine

About 2 ounces potato starch noodles, soaked in cold water for 1 hour

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup white onion, sliced

½ cup carrot, julienned

4 stalks green onion, sliced

1 egg per person

Mix your honey, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic and black pepper.

Pour the mixture over your sliced beef and mix thoroughly. Cover and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Soak your potato starch noodles while the meat is marinating.

In a heavy-bottomed pan bring about 4 cups of water with the salt and fish sauce to a boil.

Turn the heat down to medium to bring the liquid to a simmer before adding your meat, onion and carrot.

Allow the meat and vegetables to cook for 10 minutes, uncovered. Be sure to skim the foam off the surface of the soup as it cooks, but try not to stir too much, which will cause your soup to be cloudy.

Add the soaked noodles and gently stir.

If you want to add egg, now is the time to do it. Crack the egg directly into the simmering soup. Do not stir or disturb whatsoever while you let the egg poach in the soup for 5 minutes.

Portion out your soup carefully, being sure each egg arrives in a bowl intact.

Top with the green onion immediately before serving.

Serve with steamed white rice and kimchi.

More in Life

Fresh mozzarella, above, is great if you find yourself with a gallon of milk on its last day. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Mozzarella saves the day

After all our Thanksgiving guests departed, we received a delivery of several gallons of milk nearing their expiration date

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Older and wiser, or not

Turning 50 has been a more laid-back experience

Sara DeVolld performs as part of the Waltz of the Flowers Corps de Ballet in “The Nutcracker” with Eugene Ballet at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Shona DeVolld)
Becoming part of a ‘magical holiday tradition’

Local ballet dancer Sara DeVolld performs in Anchorage for ‘The Nutcracker’

A copy of Sherry Simpson’s “The Way Winter Comes” is held in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Inhabited by winter

Juneau writer spins haunting tales of Alaska’s darkest season in 1998 short story collection

Charles Riddiford, far right in the back row, posed for this Spokane Post Office staff photo in 1898 when he was just a clerk. The photo appeared in a 1922 edition of the Spokesman Review, along with a discussion of the post office’s tremendous growth.
Riddiford: Story of a Name Change — Part 1

So who was this Riddiford, and why did this name hold such sway at the site of Joseph Cooper’s boat landing for more than a decade?

These festive gingerbread cookies are topped with royal icing and sprinkles. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Rolling out the gingerbread

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time for the holiday classic

Paper chains made of gratitude strips adorn a Christmas tree at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna. (Photo courtesy Meredith Harber)
Minister’s Message: Grateful and kind

What if, instead of gathering around tables and talking about what has already happened TO us, we challenge ourselves to return kindness to the world around us

Roasted broccoli Caesar salad provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A toasty, warm salad for a cozy Thanksgiving

This warm side dish provides some much-needed greens and fiber to balance out the rolls and gravy

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Some things never change. Nor should they

In the dawdling days prior to Thanksgiving, things are usually as serene as a gentle snowfall within our modest piece of nirvana

Most Read