Winter vegetable ragout with caramelized whole shallots

March 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm (Dark leafy greens, F (0 stars, inedible), Fall recipes, French, Georgeanne Brennan, Middle East / N. Africa, Root vegetables, Winter recipes)

I was looking for a recipe that called for turnips, and came across this winter ragout in France: the Vegetarian Table by Georgeanne Brennan.  It’s basically an oven-roasted stew full of big chunks of parnsips, turnips, rutabagas, and carrots.  (I couldn’t find any rutabagas so I subbed in potatoes.) The stew also calls for ribbons of chard and caramelized shallots.  At first glance I thought this recipe was for a French-style stew, but it’s seasoned with turmeric and raisins, and you’re supposed to serve it with yogurt and a mixture of dill, tarragon, mint, and chives.  So there’s definitely a North African influence.My notes:

I was worried about my vegetables all cooking at the same rate.  The instructions say things like “cut the turnips into 8 pieces.”  But one of my turnips was almost three times the size of the other one.  I wasn’t sure exactly how big each vegetable needed to be so that they’d all cook at the same rate.  In the end some of my parsnips ended up overcooked but the rest were mostly okay.

The “gravy” is made form a flavorful vegetable broth, thickened with two tablespoons of flour, and seasoned with wine.  Although the sauce was reasonably tasty, there wasn’t that much of it, and I didn’t care for the vegetables that much.  Even ignoring the overcooked parsnips, the texture of the vegetables just turned me off.  The shallots were tasty but not as crispy as I would have liked, and they were so big they were difficult to eat.  It was difficult to saw through them with a butter knife.  I gave a bunch of this stew away and ended up throwing out the last serving.  Neither Derek nor I wanted to eat it.  Derek claimed it was bland.

Even though the flavors were a bit different this dish reminded me a lot of Peter Berley’s Autumn tempeh and vegetable stew.  Maybe I just don’t like vegetable stews?

Rating: C

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