Halloween week, I visit with Paul Bonine, author of Black Plants: 75
Striking Choices for the Garden (xeraplants.com). We chat about some of our favorite plants
with strange, sinister, mysterious and beautiful black foliage or flowers
(above, center, brass buttons, Leptinella squalida ‘Platt’s Black’, photo Glenn Kopp,
MoBot; right, giant bird of paradise, Streliztia nicholai, photo Lynne Harrison).
hellebore photos, northwestgardennursery.com.
of it All
demand, the recipe for Root Stew — an autumn favorite that only takes about an
hour to make, and serves 12 or more for a Halloween buffet.
yellow onions cut into half-inch pieces.
2 cups each
of five or more assorted roots peeled and cut into one-inch chunks. (Plunge
chunks into cold water to keep them from turning brown.) Roots: sweet potatoes,
white potatoes, rutabaga, and a tropical root that is new to you (such as
boniato, cassava, taro, yucca). Butternut squash, although a fruit not a root
(optional additions, see below *).
chicken or vegetable stock (one 32-ounce box if you use that)
spice powder, or curry powder (optional)
Basmati or jasmine rice; assorted garnishes, for example salted peanuts, golden
raisins, shredded sweetened coconut, chopped cilantro, mango chutney and the
non-stick sauté pan, cook onion in olive oil until translucent and dump into a
large stew pot. Lightly sauté the roots in batches and add them to the stew
pot. Add oil when necessary.
liquids, which should cover the root chunks, turn on low fire and bring to a
gentle boil (uncovered). Add seasoning if used. Salt, or one chicken bullion
roots are just about tender (around 30 minutes), crush four or five ginger snap
cookies into the liquid to flavor and thicken it. Stir gently and continue to
serving, pour in the contents of one entire package of raw cranberries. Gently
fold so as not to break root chunks. (The cranberries will explode in your
mouth.) Turn off the burner. Cover the pot and let the stew rest until ready to
rice. Provide garnishes in small bowls with little spoons for serving.
* There are
so many things that can go into this stew. Perhaps I should call it Kitchen
Optional additions to try: 1 cup of one or two
of the following: partially cooked cut carrots, cut parsnips, cubed beets,
cooked chickpeas, cauliflower florets added towards the end.
Click on the small black arrow at the left on the bar below to start
listening, or click on the MP3 link to download the show into Windows
Media Player or iTunes: