Monday, January 26, 2015

Alibert's Gobball Stew from the "Wakfu" Animated Series

          "Wakfu" is an internationally popular MMORPG from France by the folks at Ankama, but I'm in love with their Flash animated series adaptation. I watched the first season on Netflix last year (made possible by a successful Kickstarter) and then immediately scrambled to find season two online as well as the OAVs (original animated videos, specials basically). I found them and was so impressed and moved by the story (further impressed, I should say). Both seasons are now on Netflix and I highly HIGHLY recommend them. The characters are easy to get attached to and the world is so rich and colorful and pretty much a character on its own. There's action and humor and romance, the series is exploding with heart, and there's food. Lots of it. I chose to recreate Alibert's Stew from the first episode because I felt like eating steak and the dish is pretty important as it's how we're introduced to the protagonist; a young, energetic, friendly boy named Yugo, who is seen being a total boss in the kitchen of his adoptive father (Alibert)'s restaurant, making this dish and slinging it out to customers. Being the signature dish of the restaurant and Alibert's specialty, it's a symbol of the bond they share, the life they've built together, and the life Yugo has to leave behind. But they'll always have the stew. It's also known as gobball stew, gobball being a common animal in the series, looking like a puffball sheep, but sheep meat is expensive and ribeye steak looks just the same as what we see in the episode so...there you go. FYI, the animated version of this stew is different from the in-game version which looks more like roast beef with carrots and potatoes.


Note: I used brown basmati rice for the recipe below because it has a more substantial texture, nice chew, and I think it goes well with this dish, but you can totally make white rice instead, no biggie! I actually had some left over white rice that I mixed in when I made this dish. :)


Alibert's Gobball Stew

Ingredients:
Rice
1 Cup Brown Basmati Rice
1 3/4 Cups Water
2 Tbsp. Butter
Vegetables
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
1 Cup Sliced Fresh Mushrooms, about 1/8" thick  
1/2 Large Green Bell Pepper
2 Red Sweet Peppers, circle cut
1 Orange Sweet Pepper, circle cut
2 Yellow Sweet Pepper, circle cut
1 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
Cream Stew
3 Cups Milk
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/3 Cup Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
Pinch Nutmeg (optional)
Pinch Ground Oregano (optional)
Meat
2 Thick Rib Eye Steaks
Up to 1 Tbsp. Salt
Up to 1 Tbsp. Sugar
Up to 1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Important Item:
George Forman Grill or Outside Grill

Directions:
1. Rice: In a medium pot (with a lid) on medium-high heat, combine the rice, water, & 1 tablespoon butter. Bring to a boil & then cover. Reduce the heat to a simmer & cook for about 40 minutes. Keep the lid on and remove from the heat & let sit for about 10 minutes (if it's not cooked all the way, add 2 tablespoons more water & heat again until soft). Add another tablespoon of butter & fluff the rice with a fork.
2. Vegetables: Saute the garlic with about a tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms & peppers & cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the broth & raise the heat to medium high & cook until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat to low & let it simmer.
3. Cream Stew: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot on medium-low heat. Add about 1/3 cup of milk & then stir in a little bit of the flour & whisk to combine well. Keep adding flour & whisking until it becomes thick & then whisk in a little bit more milk to thin it out. Repeat this process until the flour is gone. Pour in the rest of the milk & raise the heat to a soft boil until it thickens into a nice cream. Pour it into the pan with the vegetables & stir to combine. Add in the salt, pepper,and optional nutmeg & oregano.
4. Meat: Heat your grill (I used a little George Forman) & in a small bowl mix together as much salt, sugar, & pepper as you think your taste buds can handle (that's why the ingredients say "up to". Personally I like mine all the way!). Pat the meat with paper towels & then rub the salt/sugar mixture all over it very well. If using a George Forman grill, cook one steak at a time, about 3 minutes & then flip so that the grill lines create a cross hatch pattern & cook for another 2 minutes (cook time will vary depending in meat thickness & how well-done you like your steaks, of course). Place a large portion of rice on a serving plate, cover with cream stew, & place a steak on top. Drizzle with some of the meat juices (optional, if using a George Forman grill).

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