How (and Why) to Sweat Your Vegetables

Yahoo Food is excited to partner with chef and PBS star Vivian Howard and the “A Chef’s Life” team

While most of us think sweating is something reserved for the gym, there’s a very useful kitchen technique by the same name that will help you prep your veggies for other recipes.

As Vivian Howard teaches us, you don’t sweat meat or fruit — you only sweat vegetables. Put your diced veggies in a pan on the stove with some type fat, like butter or oil. Use low, low heat and add salt, which draws out the natural juices of the vegetables. 

Be careful not to brown the vegetables — throw a lid on your pan to prevent this from happening. When they’re properly sweaty, they will be soft, tender, but not brown. Sweaty vegetables may look delicious but they’re not for eating. They’re used as a foundation for other recipes, like this recipe for potato and broccoli soup.

Photo: Rex Miller

Makes 6 cups
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely diced onion
½ cup finely diced carrot
½ cup finely diced celery
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dry mustard
4 cups peeled and diced russet potato
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste

Garnish with: chopped cooked bacon, sliced green onions, and shredded Cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the onion, carrot, and celery. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender. Do not let the vegetables brown at all.

Sprinkle the onion mixture with flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, salt, pepper, and mustard.

Add the potatoes, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Whisk together the heavy cream and sour cream in a bowl. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot potato mixture into cream mixture; add cream mixture to remaining hot potato mixture, stirring constantly.

Cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Check the seasoning.

Serve warm, topped with chopped cooked bacon, sliced green onions, and shredded Cheddar cheese.

Produced by Markay Media/Deep Run Productions; Featuring Vivian Howard; Culinary Producer Sheri Castle; Music by Django Haskins

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