I am leaving for Rancho La Puerta to work as the visiting chef at their cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta, in just a few days. Don’t have a pity party for me as the place is just amazing. I am also doing 2 nutrition talks this time. (Maybe you’ll think about joining me there on my next visit the week of October 22nd.)
In anticipation of my trip, I like to clean out my refrigerator for my house sitter. It’s also the time of year that it makes sense to do so, when all the spring vegetables come on the scene: English peas, bok choy, spring onions, green garlic, asparagus and much more. So, out with the old (and older) and in with the new.
Making this stew was a one-time shot. Now I must wait again until the fall when celery root and parsnips are back in season. I am a little ticked off at myself for embarking on this project without thinking ahead about adding white beans. In hindsight (a great teacher), I would not add lentils to this stew. They make it look untidy. White beans such as cannellini or the amazing Marcella beans from Rancho Gordo would have improved both the flavor and visual appeal. See the note below if you decide to use soaked white beans (1/2 cup dry that you soak).
With my trip coming up, this dish will be my staple until I board the plane. My tummy will have to get over how it looks as it tastes just fine with the celery undertones an sweetness of the parsnip. I like to serve it on top of cooked quinoa or red (or other) rice and cooked kale. My general rule is to punch up the number of servings of vegetables whenever possible.
I can see that this stew can be easily tweaked to accommodate any winter vegetables such as daikon or turnip, in addition to the celery root and parsnip.
NOTE, if using white beans, use soaked beans: measure ½ cup dry and soak overnight or for 8 to 12 hours, cook this a bit differently than the recipe below: dry sauté the leek and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beans, liquid (use only 1 cup) and herbs, and bring to high pressure for 5 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. Add the other vegetables, except peas, and bring back to high pressure for 3 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally again.)