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Making veggie stock: Sweat veggies 1st or no?

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  • phan1 May 3, 2008 06:16 PM
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Hi, there seems to be a lot of endless variances to veggie stock, but one key thing I wonder if people do or not is sweating the vegetables before adding it for your veggie stock. I see some people putting it in there raw and some sweating it before putting it in? Any personal preferences? I'd like to here them. It seems like for sauces and jus, you always sweat the vegetables, but for actual vegetable stock not so much...

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  1. Here is my experience you asked to hear: mine go in raw, no sweating involved. I'm curious though what the advantage is to sweating and the different stock that results. TIA

    1. I sweat the aromatics--onion and garlic, and the moirpoix. Anything else just toss in.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        How long for the onion / garlic?

        1. re: enbell

          The onion until just translucent. Garlic can be added at any time to the stock - its flavor is imparted immediately.

          1. re: scoopG

            Thank you!

          2. re: enbell

            I made the Julia Child onion soup and sweated red onions for 40 minutes, and added a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon or more or sugar to brown and carmelize the onions. I added 3 tablespoons of flour and stirred the onions for 3 minutes and removed the mixture from the heat. I added the mixture to the beef broth, with 1/2 cup white wine and continued cooking 40 minutes.

            1. re: enbell

              Onions: until either translucent or until caramelized. Translucent brings out some of the sugars and a slightly fuller flavor than raw. Caramelization brings out much more sugar, adds color to the stock, and depth to the flavor. Garlic (if used): just a couple of minutes.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Re: Garlic, I would agree, only cook for a couple of minutes. If you overcook garlic and it burns, it will make your stock bitter.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  Sam and miss Class...Brilliant! I picked up quite a hefty onion at the farmer's market and had it "sweatin' to the oldies," and let it caramelize with salt and a bit of sugar. I threw in some garlic, then oyster and button mushrooms, water, and now I've got a great broth simmering on the stove. I'm very excited :) Thank you again.

            2. For veggie stock, I do sweat. It makes the taste more robust and develops the flavors more.

              1. I don't see the need to precook the veggies, and never do. It's all done in less than an hour. Fresh, bright flavors.

                1. I think it depends on what type of flavour you want. Sweating or roasting veggies will give a more developed flavour but you might not want that. Simply throwing everything in raw will give a more versatile/generic stock, which is maybe what you need.

                  1. It depends on what the final product will be. Generally I'll sweat the onions and maybe fresh mushroom pieces, and toss in the garlic for a few seconds before the water. Dried mushrooms or corn cobs I just toss in. If using sweet potatoes I'll brown for sweetness before the onions.

                    OTOH, if roasting asparagus I often roast the broken off ends and freeze for stock. When steaming artichokes I'll reduce and freeze the water. Sometimes having a generic stock on hand is good, but -- to paraphrase what you say -- there are a lot of variations.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Richard 16

                      Gosh, I never thought of sweet potatoes as an ingredient for broth, and I bet caramelizing them is wonderful - what a good idea. On the other hand, I can't make good use of my artichoke water. What exactly do you do to yours?

                    2. i roast everything in the oven with some olive oil and salt and pepper to give them a nice brown crustiness and to get some flavor. it'll be good either way though.

                      1. I was always taught that with stock, whether beef or veal or duck or chicken or vegetable, the choice to saute/roast the ingredients depends on your intended use of the stock. Roasting or sauteeing gives a richer, caramelized flavour. simmering without sauteeing gives a cleaner, milder flavour, and usually a paler colour. So the ingredients for stocks intended for reduced sauces are usually sauteed first to get a richer flavour. Some soups work best with a milder flavour base, especially if you want another ingredient to be the star.

                        For home use, I sautee or roast, since I usually want a good, strong flavour. If not, I use water. Risotto made with good water is actually really lovely - the rice flavour is so clear and strong.