Getting in Touch with my ROOT Vegetables; A Disappointing Stew

Tom Valenti’s “One-Pot Meals” seemed the perfect companion to my new Le Crueset. Here was the ultimate one-pot and how exciting to cook his “one-pot” recipes in it.

After the latke episode last night, Lisa and I were hungry something substantive. So we made Valenti’s root vegetable stew with cumin, coriander and millet. Except I couldn’t find millet. (And that, I think, proved disasterous.)

Root vegetables. What are they? Well there’s carrot. Onion. Celeriac (that went into our latkes, but not our stew–even though it could have gone into the stew.)

Also, though, parsnips:

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Turnips:

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Parsnips and turnips are new to me. I’ve never cooked with them before–never purchased them from the store. They added a great textural component to the finished dish and would have been perfect had I not oversalted them.

And boy did I oversalt everything. I should be fined for a salt and battery (rimshot!) but seriously folks. Check out the veggies in the pot:

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Valenti says “add salt and pepper.” I said to Lisa: “I never add enough salt.” So I added moundfuls. Big mistake!

Anyway, these cooked down. Tomatoes and tomato paste were added.

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This cooked down to this:

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Then we added cumin (which Lisa said smelled like “body odor”), coriander and MORE salt. Ugh–so much salt. Salt salt salt salt. (This is why we taste things as we go.) We added 1.5 qts of vegetable broth using a technique borrowed from “Die Hard 3”: trying to figure out what was 1.5 qts using 2 one-quart boxes of broth. Lisa proved a genius.

And anyway, so everything cooked together–Lisa went to see “Ocean’s 12” (her timing was suspiciously perfect for escape)–and I was left to taste it. It tasted salty. But beyond that, it tasted interesting. The root vegetables added heft. The broth was ok. I would NEVER make this again. But there you have it. Another stew, another dream–down the tubes.

NOTE: After rereading this, I see I forgot to mention the millet again. Millet is a grain that Valenti talks up in the recipe description–says it adds great texture and thickens everything. So maybe the lack of millet made this dish crappy. If anyone cooks it with the millet (and much less salt) let me know how it turns out.

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