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Asian Slow Cooker Short Rib Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce

Asian Short Rib Lasagna


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
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Ingredients

For the Slow Cooker Short Ribs:

  • 2 lbs short ribs, bone-in
  • Kosher or coarse ground sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

For the Lasagna:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 ounces (about 3 cups) sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 32 Twin Dragon Wonton Wrappers
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions) – use the white and light green parts only

Instructions

Make the Slow Cooker Short Ribs:

  1. Lay the short ribs out on a paper towel and press another paper towel over them on all sides to absorb excess moisture. Sprinkle them generously on all sides with salt.
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering and just under the smoking point.
  3. Working with 4 or 5 pieces at a time, place the short ribs in the hot oil. Let them cook in the hot oil without moving them for about 1 minute. Turn the pieces in the hot oil, allowing them to brown on all sides. Remover the short ribs from the saucepan and place in the bowl of a slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining short rib pieces.
  4. Add the soy sauce, broth, brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the short ribs in the slow cooker. Cook the short ribs until the meat is so tender it’s falling off the bone, about 5 hours on high or 7-8 on low. If possible, stir the meat in the sauce halfway through cooking.
  5. Use tongs to remove meat from the slow cooker to a plate or cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle.
  6. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl; discard any solids left in the strainer. Let the sauce sit undisturbed for 5-10 minutes than skim as much excess fat from the top of the liquid as possible, discarding the fat. *If possible, put the cooking liquid into the refrigerator, uncovered, for an hour or two (or, covered, for up to 2 days). This will allow the excess fat in the liquid to harden across the top of the liquid, making it very easy to remove. 
  7. Add the cornstarch and about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to a bowl and stir to combine. Add the rest of the cooking liquid to a heavy bottom saucepan. Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce in the saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and let simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thick.
  8. Meanwhile, pull the short rib meat from the bones and shred it into strips; discard bones and any pieces that are super fatty. (If assembling the lasagna later in the day, or in a couple of days, put the meat into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.)
  9. Combine the shredded short rib meat with the sauce, stirring to coat the meat in the sauce.

Make the Lasagna:

  1. To make the béchamel sauce, add milk and the bay leaves to a saucepan and cook over medium just until just under a simmer; small bubbles will appear around the sides of the saucepan. Turn the heat down to low and keep warm. Add the butter to a heavy bottom saucepan and set it over medium heat to melt. When melted, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly and vigorously until the flour is a very light brown. Remove the pan from the heat and very gradually, add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Put the saucepan back over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in salt and pepper. Taste and add more if you like.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. In an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish, spread about 2 tablespoons of béchamel sauce over the bottom of the pan. Layer 8 wonton wrappers over the sauce, covering it completely. Spread 1/3 of short rib meat and sauce over the wonton wrappers. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the remaining béchamel sauce over the cheese, spreading it out slightly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Layer another 8 wonton wrappers over the béchamel sauce, following with another 1/3 of the meat and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers one more time using the remaining béchamel sauce, wonton wrappers, meat, and cheese.
  5. Place the lasagna in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling all around the edges of the pan. If the cheese starts to get too brown, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil that you’ve sprayed lightly with non-stick baking spray.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the top with scallions and serve.