How to Sweat Vegetables

January 3, 2012 § 4 Comments

So, this has got to be one of the greatest internet search phrases ever. Brings all kinds of fun things to mind, doesn’t it? But, sweating vegetables actually refers to cooking vegetables so they release their aroma without altering their flavor.

At a medium temperature for a longer period of time, vegetables like onions, carrots and celery become fragrant and glossy. This is sweating. At a high temperature for a shorter period of time, the vegetables start to caramelize, turning brown, and becoming sweeter and richer. This is sauteeing.

When would you want to sweat vegetables? When you are making a soup or a stock, generally speaking. Or if you are preparing an ingredient for later use, as in, cooking some onions and peppers to mix in with your omelette. Especially when it comes to soups and stocks, you have more control over your finished meal by starting with a clean flavor.

How to Sweat Vegetables!
* 1 1/2 tbsp oil
* 1 yellow onion, small diced
* 2 carrots, small diced
* 2 ribs of celery, small diced

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. When you first add the vegetables, you should hear a bit of a sizzle, but that should die off pretty quickly. If you can hear a lot of sizzling and popping, you’re cooking at too high of a temperature.

Stir every minute or so, continually checking on the veggies. They’re finished when the onion has turned transluscent.

Here is a recipe where you can sweat vegetables:
Vegetable Barley Soup

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