In classic cooking, this little stew of carrots, turnips, pearl onions, string beans, and peas is made by cooking all the vegetables separately. The carrots and turnips are glazed using two methods, and the peas and string beans are cooked separately with lots of boiling salted water, a method the French call cooking “à l’anglaise”. The mushrooms are steamed, and the liquid they release provides the base for a small amount of sauce that coats the vegetables. Typically, the little stew is then strewn over a meat stew, or, in more formal presentations, each vegetable is arranged around the meat in its own separate mound. I also like to serve the vegetables, all tossed together, as a side dish.
Ideally, the vegetables should be combined and served as soon as they are done, but this isn’t always practical. You can get this stew started earlier in the day by glazing the root vegetables and allowing them to cool, and by cooking the string beans and peas (if you’re using fresh), leaving them a tad undercooked and draining and rinsing them under cold running water or plunging them in ice water. You can also steam the mushrooms and reserve them and the liquid they release.
If you’re using medium-size carrots, peel them and cut them into about 4 sections each. Cut the thickest sections in half lengthwise and cut out their cores. If you’re using medium-size turnips or celeriac, cut them into wedges—you should get about 6 out of each turnip and 12 out of a celeriac.
Glaze the carrots and turnips or celeriac à blanc, using about
Glaze the pearl onions or walnut-size onions à brun, again using about
Rinse the mushrooms and put them in a pot with
Plunge the string beans into about
Combine the cooked vegetables in a pot. If they’ve cooled off, or if you’ve cooked them ahead of time, put
Bring the mushroom sauce to a simmer and whisk in the remaining butter and the parsley. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and add it to the cooked vegetables. Toss or gently stir. Serve immediately.
© 2002 James Peterson. All rights reserved.