Last week, after a very exhausting 4 days of work, I was excited to have a Friday off so I could spend some time doing some slow and chill cooking. I had a few bay leaves in my freezer that I wanted to use up and the cold weather has made me want some beef stew. I've made beef stew in the past, and I've been pretty successful, but this time I wanted to kick it up a notch.
Kenji's beef stew recipe came up in my youtube feed, and even though the video itself is a whole 37 minutes and 54 seconds long, I decided to watch it and I decided to make it. The recipe states that it takes 3 hours 10 minutes, and at my pace, I need to double all recipe times, so I know this is going to be an all day affair.
Well, I woke up on a very, very cold Friday and saw that my power was out. 😧 I paced around my apartment, wondering what to do (I couldn't even make coffee!), but then...the power came back on. Okay, I'm making this beef stew.
(Had I known that the power would flicker off and on at least 20 more times during the day, I may have decided to do this a different day)
So in the video that I watched, Kenji cuts up all the veggies while his steaks are searing, and he still has time left over to just wait for it to finish searing. That was not my experience. I definitely should have cut up all the veggies in the beginning. I think it took me at least half an hour to cut them all up. Maybe an hour. I also should not have seared them on HIGH. My kitchen very quickly became a smoky mess.
And then when it came to blending up the broth, I realized that my little nutribullet is too small! (And I wasn't gonna use the food processor after what happened when I made those beef tacos) So I blended up a small amount of the chicken broth with the other ingredients and just mixed them all together in a saucepan. I attempted to add gelatin, but it all immediately clumped up. (Apparently I should have "bloomed" it first. Whatever that means)
Oh, but the worst part was dealing with the pearl onions. Kenji recommends just using frozen ones. I really should have listened to him, but I was at Whole Foods, and they only had fresh pearl onions, and I didn't feel like going to another store. So I'm standing at my counter, cutting off the nubs of the onions and peeling them and tears are streaming down my face.
Anyway, I got everything prepped and I figured the bulk of the actual cooking part would be easier. I threw some veggies in the pot, and I threw my cubed beef into the pot, and I threw in some wine, and...the power went out again 😑
Fortunately, that didn't last too long, maybe five or ten minutes. Unfortunately, this would happen at least twenty more times while my stew was cooking. I managed to eventually get it to a simmer and into the oven, but this was no set-it-and-forget-it experience. I had to sit in my living room the whole time, making sure I was aware every time the power went out so I could turn the oven back on 😣
But I did it. I let it cook for a while, and then I took the pot out of the stove, and it wasn't tender enough, so I let it cook for even longer, and eventually the meat got to a consistency I was happy enough with. I started prepping at about 1pm, and it was finally done around 6:30pm.
I was exhausted all over again. I was so exhausted I forgot to add the peas. And then I forgot to take a picture!
It did taste really good though. Was it worth it? Maybe. Would I try making this again? Honestly, I would. But only if I know I have stable electricity. And frozen onions.