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:



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:


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.


This cooked down to this:


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.

13 thoughts on “Getting in Touch with my ROOT Vegetables; A Disappointing Stew”

  1. stephanie tanner

    sorry ur stew didnt work out well, but i love the word stew :)

    ANYWAYS, i have emailed the secret santa email but i need help! my secret santa person is me! and as much as i like to buy for myself, i want to buy for someone else! can u help me?!?

    thank u!

    stephnaie tanner

  2. If you still have it, add a chicken, lots of water, simmer, cool, debone, cube or shred, simmer, skim, consume. Will be yummy, guaranteed. Save dont waste.

  3. Stephanie: Sorry for the mix-up! It must have been a cut and paste error on my part. I’ve sent your real info. :)

    ANYONE ELSE: If this happened to you, complain right away! Thanks. :)

  4. Usually I find that millet tends to be involved in a lot of tasteless, gross 70s hippie food.

    It’s one of those buzzwords that makes me run and hide from a recipe. That and “carob.”

    (On the other hand, I’m sure it’s a lovely grain that’s very useful. It would have radically altered that recipe, it would be like leaving out lentils or something–the texture and thickness and taste would have been way different and I’m sure the blandness of the grain would have completely soaked up the excess salt)

  5. Try “The Winter Vegetarian” by Darra Goldstein. Truly excellent Root Veg Stew recipe. Also a very good cookbook.

  6. I always try to err on the side of not enough salt — it’s to taste, and people have different tastes. Plus, the taster can always add more.

  7. Here is a tip for the next time your oversalt your food (but hopefully there won’t be a next time): once your food is cooked, dump a peeled potato in your soup, stew or whatever and bring to a boil for a while. The potato will absorb the excess salt. And like e, I recommend roasting turnips, only with sweet potatoes, it is delicious.

  8. I went to see a little performance last night called “Googlewack” and was inspired. This probably needs explaining, but not here. Let’s just say I got here via a Google search for “botchulism foray” and landed in the dissapointing root veggie stew. As others have recommended; roast those roots. ALL together. Parsnips carmelize like carrots and sweet potatoes and garlic. SO very delicious. And “Salt to Taste” really should be “Taste to Salt” – like this: taste, salt, taste, have friend taste, repeat).

  9. Indian cuisine offers various simple, can’t go wrong stews. I’ve blogged a few thousand of them, but have’nt yet scratched the surface.

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