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Besides onions, what else do you caramelize?

ipsedixit Feb 9, 2010 12:04 PM

So far, I've done the following with tremendous results.


I'm goint to try parsnips next.

What other root-type veggies have you been caramelizing?

  1. Phurstluv Feb 9, 2010 12:51 PM

    Love to caramelize leeks and I roast shallots with a beef or chicken roast - some of my favorites!

    Parsnips are good, but I also love doing butternut squash, and brussels sprouts.

    1. v
      vafarmwife Feb 9, 2010 01:10 PM

      Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and rutabagas (swedes).

      1. Phurstluv Feb 9, 2010 01:12 PM

        Just remembered I also have had luck in roasting to caramelize broccoli and cauliflower pieces, tho they're not root veggies.......

        1. j
          just_M Feb 9, 2010 03:48 PM

          Mushrooms per Michael Chiarello, an oldy but such a goody.

          1. r
            rtms Feb 9, 2010 05:24 PM

            I love roasting cauliflower, sweet potatos (the orange coloured ones) and squash (like acorn and pumpkin)

            1. l
              lexpatti Feb 9, 2010 05:37 PM

              I have been addicted lately to roasting or carmelizing everything but my favs lately are:

              red onions
              red or orange or yellow peppers
              brussel sprouts

              1. Cherylptw Feb 9, 2010 05:46 PM

                onions, shallots & leeks
                squashes including butternut & summer
                carrots & celery
                sweet peppers & chiles
                jalapeno peppers
                bananas & plantains

                5 Replies
                1. re: Cherylptw
                  Phurstluv Feb 9, 2010 06:30 PM

                  Might as well add pineapple to that list. OP was looking for root veggies, tho.

                  1. re: Phurstluv
                    Cherylptw Feb 10, 2010 12:54 PM

                    True, but her link post asked what do you caramelize...she didn't specify root veggies until you clicked on the link, so which is it? I don't like pineapple so that's not something I would caramelize which is why I didn't add it to my list.

                    1. re: Cherylptw
                      Phurstluv Feb 11, 2010 04:26 PM

                      Last line of the OP : What other root-type veggies have you been caramelizing?

                      Just sayin'.

                      1. re: Phurstluv
                        Cherylptw Feb 11, 2010 05:00 PM

                        I hear you but what I'm saying is that the link I clicked on asked what else besides onions do you caramelize? It said nothing about root veggies until the end of the post. Maybe the OP should have been a little clearer by just writing root veggies in her heading link and really, I didn't see anything in her post which indicated she specifically excluded fruits.

                        1. re: Cherylptw
                          ipsedixit Feb 11, 2010 07:30 PM

                          Hey, it's all good.

                          Root vegetable or otherwise, all suggestions are welcomed!


                2. blue room Feb 9, 2010 06:29 PM

                  Can you truly carmelize foods (like mushrooms) that contain practically no sugar? Is there a difference between carmelizing and browning?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: blue room
                    just_M Feb 10, 2010 07:21 AM

                    Yes, at least for mushrooms. The trick is to put them in a hot pan that has a bit of fat/oil in it and then step away. Chiarello said not to touch until you see a bit of shrinkage then to flip/toss, let that side do the same then you salt/season. The texture and color are a bit different then browned.

                    1. re: just_M
                      lexpatti Feb 10, 2010 07:40 AM

                      he has a great recipe for polenta and carmelized mushrooms - i can't wait to try

                      1. re: just_M
                        Niki in Dayton Feb 10, 2010 09:13 AM

                        And the key for mushrooms is NOT to salt until they brown, unlike onions for instance. I know you mentioned that, but it's worth repeating for those who may not have picked up on that detail. My husband routinely seasons things as soon as he tosses them in the skillet, so I make a special point of mentioning that the mushrooms won't brown if they're salted first....as demonstrated repeatedly in our house :-)

                        1. re: Niki in Dayton
                          Phurstluv Feb 10, 2010 12:39 PM

                          They seem to brown just fine, and I salt them when they hit the pan. It helps them to release their moisture faster, I think. And getting rid of excess moisture is a key to browning.

                          1. re: Phurstluv
                            just_M Feb 10, 2010 12:56 PM

                            Browned yes if you let them cook long enough, caramelized no. Try Chiarellos method, I wasn't convinced until I did and the texture is different. Caramelized on the outside while the interior retains more of a moist meatiness and the taste is just more mushroomy somehow. I think the salting toward the end enhances the flavor while the some moisture has been cooked out and therefor caramelized but it leaves just enough now concentrated moisture in the mushroom to up the flavor and texture. Try it , you'll love it. M

                    2. KayceeK Feb 9, 2010 07:28 PM

                      I love to caramelize apples or pears...have a great recipe for pork with brandy sauce and caramelized pears actually that is in fairly regular rotation. Yum!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: KayceeK
                        blue room Feb 10, 2010 09:08 AM

                        KayceeK, would you tell me how to do the pork with brandy and pears?
                        Or point to it online, if I can find it there. Thanks very much!

                        1. re: blue room
                          KayceeK Feb 10, 2010 01:40 PM


                          I normally don't deviate too far since it's so simple and good! I like to serve it with colourful sides since it is a little on the beige side of things, and a good Pinot Noir! ;)

                      2. r
                        runwestierun Feb 11, 2010 07:38 PM

                        I always caramelize canned tomatoes before making cream of tomato soup. You can smell when they finally caramelize, this is one of my favorite simple treats.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: runwestierun
                          Niki in Dayton Feb 19, 2010 03:40 PM

                          Oh, that reminds me. I carmelize tomato paste in evoo when I make red sauce. It adds depth and sweetness to the sauce.

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