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Saving an Over-Spiced Stew

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Q. What can I do if I spiced my stew too much? Is there any hope?

A. There is always hope … although not, perhaps, for your stew. You can try several things. One option is to add more liquid to spread out the intense flavor. You could add a can of crushed tomatoes, perhaps. Then if you need to thicken the soupy stew, you could mix a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot in a little water, stir that into the pot, and let it cook for a few more minutes to thicken. An addition of cream with a little cornstarch might help. 

Another option is to add a cut-up potato or two to the pot, let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes or so, and then discard the potatoes. They may have absorbed enough of the spicy flavor to calm the dish down. Failing that, you should convince your dinner companions that this is the newest taste sensation from Southeast Asia, and that when the craze sweeps the rest of the country, they will be able to proudly say they had it way back in 2002.

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