Carrot Puree (Mashed Carrots)
As promised, here is the recipe for carrot purée that I served with my tapenade chicken the other day. I flavored the dish with rosemary, mustard, cumin and almond butter. The almond butter both thickens the purée and provides a nutty flavor.
It's a lighter, healthier version of the creamy mashed potatoes we served for Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes and carrots are a great source of vitamin A and potassium. But don't get me wrong, healthier doesn't mean less flavorful. If you've read my many of my past recipes, you know that I'm not shy about using full fat ingredients. In this particular dish, I just don't think it's necessary to get that unctuous, creamy mouth-feel. Using the cooking techniques in the recipe, you'll be able to convince even the most anti-health food person in your life that the dish is loaded with heavy cream and butter.
Yields: 4 servings4 carrots
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
1 small sprig of rosemary
2 Golden Sweet potatoes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, freshly ground
1-½ tablespoons creamy almond butter (optional)
2 tablespoons evaporated milk, warm
1 tablespoon roasted almond oil
1-½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon curly parsley (optional)
Cooking the carrots:
Break the sprig of rosemary in half and place in a tea bag or cheesecloth (see tips).
Peel and cut the carrots into quarters, depending on the size of the vegetable.
In a pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots and cook until slightly golden. Add the rosemary teabag and cook for another minute. Add the carrots. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and 1 to 1-½ quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 40 minutes. Once the water evaporates, check doneness (add more water if the carrots aren't fully cooked) and transfer to a platter. Drain well and transfer to a platter. Remove and discard the rosemary. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt and let them cool. Put the carrots and shallots into a food processor (you could use a potato masher but I found that the carrots were still too chunky). Pulse until smooth.
Cooking the sweet potatoes:
Peel the sweet potatoes and dice them into 2-½-inch chunks. It's preferable not to cut them too small as they might fall apart. Place the sweet potatoes in a small pot. Add about 2-3 cups of water (add more water if it evaporates too quickly, depending on the heat). Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for about or about 10-15 minutes. The potatoes should be fork-tender but still firm. Remove from the pot. Transfer to a platter. Let them cool a little.
Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle and have "dried" (with no excess water), place them back in the pot and stir them using a wooden spoon to remove as much water as possible. Using a fork (or a potato masher), mash the sweet potatoes. Add garlic powder, mustard, almond butter, cumin and carrots. Slowly add the warm milk. Stir well, using a wooden spoon. Add the almond oil and 1 teaspoon of parsley. Season with salt and white pepper.
Serve warm. Garnish with more parsley.
I paired the carrot purée with tapenade stuffed chicken breasts.
You can also garnish the carrot purée with golden raisins, green onions or caramelized onions but then you should omit the brown sugar.
If you re-heat the puréed carrots, it's preferable to use a double boiler. For an easy double boiler, place the mashed potatoes in a heat-proof bowl over a larger-sized saucepan filled with simmering water. I always like to add a little kitchen towel underneath the bowl. That way the bowl won't jiggle and there won't be any splatter of water in the mashed potatoes.
I added a little roasted almond oil for a subtle nutty flavor as a substitute for regular butter. You can find it online or at specialty stores such as Whole Foods.
The almond butter gives a nice mealy texture to the purée.
I made a separate one without any almond for one of my sisters-in-law who's allergic to nuts.
I gathered the rosemary in a large teabag (I buy these at Daiso, the Japanese version of a 99-cent store. They cost $1.50 for 40 tea bags). You could also use a square of cheesecloth and tie it with some strings. When the carrots are ready, remove and discard the bag.
As soon as the sweet potatoes are peeled, it's preferable to cook them immediately to prevent them from darkening.
I usually buy sweet potatoes at a Japanese or Korean store. There is a large variety of sweet potatoes available. These have a burgundy-colored skin and bright yellow flesh. The texture of this sweet potato pairs beautifully with the carrots.
You could also roast the carrots and sweet potatoes but I thought it would take too long.
I mashed the sweet potatoes with a fork for a more rustic look. If the sweet potatoes are cooked properly, a fork should be sufficient.
For a richer mouth-feel, you could always add crème fraîche and butter but I think that the natural flavors of the carrots and sweet potatoes are enough.Published By: on February 3, 2010.