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20 September 2009

I made stew. But it's way too salty. How to fix? [More:]
I made this, roughly. I added some potatoes and I also included a bit of beef broth as several comments said it needed it.

Turns out it really didn't. My stew is incredibly salty now. It's not immediately noticeable; you eat some and swallow and you think "mmm that was good" and then very slowly but surely you want to chug a gallon of water. That is not good eats.

Can I fix the stew somehow?
Supposedly, cutting a potato in half and letting it cook in stews or soups will draw out the salt, but I've never tried it.

From personal experience, sometimes adding more pepper (or cayenne, since it was in the recipe) can help balance out saltiness, as sometimes can citrus. My first step, then, might be to try upping the black pepper and cayenne.
posted by occhiblu 20 September | 23:15
Oops, that should have been: Putting in a halved potato, letting it cook, and then discarding the potato.

(I actually wonder what might happen if you just took out some of the potatoes that are already in there?)
posted by occhiblu 20 September | 23:16
On further research, it looks like the potato thing is a myth. But you could add more potatoes and carrots and cook it longer (that is, until the potatoes and carrots are cooked) as a way of diluting the saltiness through more ingredients.

Or you could just eat it over unsalted rice or egg noodles.
posted by occhiblu 20 September | 23:30
Ooh, the internet also brings up the possibility of adding beans to the stew, which would require less cooking. White beans might be good in the recipe you linked. Just make sure you've got *unsalted* beans.
posted by occhiblu 20 September | 23:37
I would try diluting the sauce, if it's not totally mashed into the solid ingredients.

Remove some sauce, then add more Guinness until it's not so salty. If it needs to be thickened up again, mix 1 or 2 TBS of cornstarch with cold water or Guinness, then add into the hot mixture and bring to a boil.
posted by Juliet Banana 20 September | 23:41
The plot thickens!

Or rather, the stew did.
More than usual. We're talking semisolid. Paste-like.
I am chalking it up to my using tomato paste instead of puree (I added more water to get the proper consistency).

Yes I know I suck at cooking.

But the good thing is this means I can probably dilute it enough to cut the saltiness without having to worry too much about making it too liquidy.

I'm going to try what Juliet Banana suggested--boil up some guinness, heat up the stew, remove some, and dilute.

I'll let you guys know how it turns out.

It's such a pity, it smells amazing.
posted by CitrusFreak12 21 September | 10:07
This sounds like it's going to be a great success! Yay for you! You and your stew!

Yes I know I suck at cooking.

No no no, NO. This kind of accident happens to most cooks. I notice that most people don't publicize their cooking mishaps unless the mishaps are outrageous. Salty stews, slightly outcooked meat, mushy vegetables --- these are the cooking accidents that we don't hear about.

When my partner was first getting enthusiastic about cooking, we would swap off nights cooking for each other, but he often felt a little anxious about the results. Then one night everything I made went a little bit wrong: the bechamel wouldn't thicken. I rushed it and scorched the sauce. The broccoli was too soft, and the pasta was undercooked, and I didn't drain either well enough, so the gratin was watery. The oven started smoking, and the popovers scorched. It was not a big disaster, but it all happened at once.

Ever since that night, he's been a lot more sanguine about his own tiny mishaps.

Don't focus on the oops; focus on how great it is that you can rescue it. Kitchen rescue! Go, you!
posted by Elsa 21 September | 12:42
Also, as a last resort you could probably add sugar to offset the salty. (I would do this by the portion and not to the entire batch.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten 21 September | 13:47
Heated up/boiled a cup of Guinness, added it, and it tastes great and isn't a paste.

posted by CitrusFreak12 21 September | 16:12
Cook Drunk the Juliet Banana Way! || Completely pointless,