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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Cooking questions

I’m planning on making a vat of spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker, and I have a basic recipe cobbled from various ones in the Internet. I want to include a bunch of pureed veggies so it’s even healthier; from what I’ve read, you can’t even taste them.

My question is this: How do I prepare the veggies in order to puree them? Steam them?

Or, since I don’t like cooked tomato chunks, should I just toss in the veggies at the beginning of the slow-cooking process and puree the whole mess at some point? If I do that, at what point in the process would I do it? Because I’d still like some onion chunks, so I'd have to add them later, and I’d need to add the ground meat early enough to get the sauce flavors into the meat.

The potential veggies in question are broccoli, carrots, spinach, green or yellow peppers, and squash (not sure what kind—thoughts?).

Suggestions for other are welcome as well. Thanks!


Shirley said...

I've never cooked veggies before I pureed them ... just add a bit of water or soup stock to the blender/food processor/whatever with the veggie chunks and go for it. If you have some leftover V8 or something, that would work, too.

Anne Waling said...

I advocate for steaming the veg in the micro prior to puree process. Also recommend (from bad past experience) that you puree everything prior to adding to crock pot. It is literally a hot mess to do it after...

So if you want onion or pepper chunks just saute them with the beef, add to the smooth sauce (including any veg sauce you want), add seasonings and away you go. Puree leftovers freeze nicely in ice cube trays.

Laura said...

More solid veggies - carrot, turnip, parsnip, etc - need to be steamed or sauteed before you attempt to puree them ... unless you're not overly fond of your processor or blender :)A nice chicken stock beats water for either technique, but if you can find a healthy local veggie stock you're better off in the long run.

For the softer veggies, you should be okay with either a raw puree or just chunkin' 'em in with the sauce, to taste. I've heard summer squashes can be quite nice in spaghetti sauce :)

Anonymous said...

If you wanted to, you could roast the veggies first, then add them to the sauce and puree the whole thing together. It would give them a deeper falvor. But the easiest is to just puree them at the start.


Anonymous said...

Harder veggies need to be steamed or microwaved first or you'll ruin your blender/food processor. Use some tomatoe sauce or V8 for the needed liquid if you think stock would make it too runny. Saute the onion and some garlic with the ground beef. It melds the flavors better.

Darren Gasser said...

All veggies are not created equal.

Leafy veggies like spinach and broccoli absolutely should not be cooked down into sauce, ever. They lose most of their nutrients and add an unpleasant, bitter flavor.

Root and stem veggies like onion, carrot, celery, leeks, and fennel should be sauteed or roasted first, as already mentioned.

There's really no point in pureeing veggies before adding to a sauce, either. If the sauce is too chunky after cooking, puree the sauce itself.

Tomato sauce is really all about the tomatoes anyway. Find good quality tomatoes and you can't go too far wrong.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Thank you all! I have the best friends ever!

Intersting about the broccoli, though, since so many of the recipes seemed to call for it.

Then again, many of them suggested mushrooms, and that's just not going to happen in a million years even if they were the last food on earth. ;-)