Nico’s 9th Birthday Party

January 31, 2010

On one of the coldest days in the dead of winter, the choice of Beef Stew (for the adults) seemed natural for Nico’s birthday party. Plus, I just received a new recipe in the mail from Chris Kimball for the “Best Beef Stew“. The result: compliments from everybody at the table. The flavor was perfectly balanced . The texture was exactly what I was hoping for (I was a little afraid of a runny mess). Success.

Also, the stew gave me plenty of time to work on the rest of dinner while it sat unattended in the oven. I made Shrimp Salad as a special request, even though it doesn’t go with Beef Stew. Also, I essentially had to cook two dinners (4 Pizzas for the kids). Overall:  Seldom has dinner for 20 people come together so smoothly.


  • I wasn’t sure exactly how many adults were coming (somewhere between 8 and 11). And since the recipe is supposed to  serve between 6 and 8 that meant I had to double the potatoes from 1 to 2 pounds. (While the recipe calls for 4 pounds of chuck roast, I had bought 6 pounds. Unfortunately after carving up the roast I ended up with only the requisite 4 pounds)
  • My apologies to Greg and Elena because you ended up with the “vegetarian” version (sin carne). Next time you’ll have to come earlier!
  • The potatoes weren’t cooked after 45 minutes in the 300 degree oven. And since the Kid’s Pizzas had to go into the oven, so I continued to simmer the stew on the stovetop. The stew required more attention on the stovetop, and the extra stirring broke down some of the meat from their nice cube shape. But nobody seemed to notice (except me).

Rating: 5-star.
Cost: $27. Served 9. ($15 in beef and $5 for added wine)
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 2:15 PM. Dinner time 6:30 PM.  (But could have been quicker)

3 Hours in the oven means very little effort for a nice dinner for 9 adults.

Contemplating the birthday wish with friends


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