In looking over what M and I ate "pre-Detox," I realized that we ate a lot of things with sauces. These sauces usually started in some jar or box form or if I went crazy and made something homemade, then the sauce started with a roux. If you are not familiar with a roux, it contains flour and butter, both of which are no-no's on our eating plan.
So. . . how to make a rich, flavorful base for a sauce that will also thicken it?
Turns out, veggies are the answer.
3 TBS olive oil
1 cup diced sweet onion
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 green pepper diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
Enough vegetable stock to puree
Saute all ingredients except the garlic in the olive oil or medium heat until soft. You don't want to carmelize the onions, just get them tender enough to puree.
After vegetables are done, add the garlic and saute until just fragrant.
Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature, approximately 20 minutes on the counter or you can put the sauteed veggies in a bowl and put that in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process. You don't want to blend hot things, as this can create a vacuum in your blender, which will basically "explode" when you take the lid off. Not only will this create a mess, but it can actually be dangerous if things are hot. I tell you this as someone who has cleaned this mess off of my ceiling!
After your veggies have cooled, transfer to a blender (I use my Magic Bullet) and puree them until smooth, adding a splash of vegetable stock to get things moving (but only a splash at a time, you want this mixture to be very thick - like a paste).
And now you have a roux! This will add so much flavor to your sauces and think of all of the vegetables that you are using already.
You can use this basic roux to make just about any sauce, simply by adding the appropriate spices or just changing up the veggies just a bit. We'll get to specific recipes (curry, marinara, enchilada sauce) later on, but this gives you a jumping off point. You can also use this roux to thicken soups or chilis.
I have taken to doubling or even tripling this basic recipe and then freezing it in smaller portions so that when I am ready to make dinner, I already have most of the work done!