Because of a few great tips I got from food stylist Adam Pearson at blogger camp, this photo probably looks a lot better. I'm a big fan of showing food in it's natural state, but rich stews can look like ugly creatures in a dark lagoon.
First I paid a lot more attention to the props, thinking about shapes and textures. If this bowl rim was not etched with a hounds tooth pattern, it would look like a giant hot white collar. Thomas Keller gave us these that he designed with Raynaud Limoges. Thanks TK. And the same with the napkin. Just the addition of texture can help the image be more interesting and less flat.
Then, instead of photographing the stew completely mixed, we first put the plain sauce in the bowl, then carefully added blanched vegetables, dumplings and the chicken pieces separately so they weren't coated in brown, hiding their bright colors.
Lastly, I diluted the red wine with water. Before it looked completely black and no light, no matter how strong, would pass through it.
The down side to this kind of shooting is you wouldn't eat it this way and, in this case, I guess I'm OK with that because you wouldn't find a real photo of this very appetizing either.