Say I'm preparing a stew that calls for various ingredients such as celery, carrots, leek, onions...
Is there any rule of thumb in which order to add these ingredients to the pan, taking into account they will cook later in the pot as well, with the rest of the stew? In recipes, I usually see the onions being added first. However my intuition is telling me that because diced onions are smaller than for example carrot disks, they are done faster (as in, slightly browned) and thus should be added later?
Currently, I'm going about roughly as this:
- carrots first because they take longest until done
- onions alongside other veggies
- wait until they're "just short of being done"
- add rest of the stew, e.g. salça (tomato paste), strained tomatoes, beans, and stand by helplessly as I hope the vegetables don't overcook
How do you take into account that the vegetables that were added on their own at first continue to cook with the rest of the soup?
What's the worst thing that can happen when not taking these times into account properly, other than your vegetables becoming a little mushy?