Sunday, February 20, 2011

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Puree

A couple of posts ago after my expensive trip to Las Vegas, I promised you some budget friendly meals. Well, I think I delivered on that promise with a 3-ingredient tomato sauce, a beet pasta, and a fish and potato croquette. Here's another one that crazy packed with flavor, but only costs pennies to make.

I have mentioned on the blog many times my love of roasting. It's such an easy way to completely transform and deepen the flavor of any vegetable. My roasted tomato sauce served as the inspiration for this sauce, because I started to wonder if I could use a winter vegetable as the main ingredient instead of fresh late summer tomatoes.

I used some super sweet organic carrots, roasted with a whole bulb of garlic and a yellow onion. After roasting, I pureed these together with some vegetable stock and added a little goat cheese for creaminess. The resulting paste was rich and sweet and super delicious and can be used in a whole bunch of different ways. Next time I make this, I'm going to try broccoli or cauliflower!

As is, it's a great spread for sandwiches or dip for crackers or veggies (I ate a whole bag of snap peas dipped in the roasted carrot garlic spread!). Or, you can make it saucier by adding more stock and you have a beautiful deep orange sauce for pasta or rice. Add even more stock or water and you have roasted carrot soup! I added the puree to some brown rice medley from Trader Joe's that I cooked into a risotto.

Look, I realize this is a wholly unappetizing photograph. In fact, I have debated even posting this recipe due to that. But, some foods just fall into the "ugly, but good" category and this is one of them!

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Puree
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch coins
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 whole bulb garlic, cloves separated but skins left on
olive oil, salt, and pepper
1-2 cups (or maybe more) vegetable stock
1-2 oz creamy goat cheese (or greek yogurt, cream cheese, creme fraiche, sour cream, etc)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Put your carrots, onion, and garlic on a sheet pan, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You should keep your garlic separate so you can remove it easily.

Roast for approximately 25 minutes and check your garlic. If it's soft, remove it now and let it cool. Continue to roast the carrots and onion for another 15-20 minutes until soft and starting to char slightly on the edges.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of each clove's peel into a food processor. Add hot roasted carrots and onion. Pulse to puree and add stock as much as needed to get the consistency you want (less for a thick spread or dip, more for a pasta or risotto sauce, lots for soup). Add goat cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, or whatever you choose to add creaminess to the carrots and pulse one final time to mix it all together.

Brown Rice Medley Risotto
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup brown rice medley
1 cup white wine
5-6 cups vegetable stock

Heat stock in a pot over medium heat.

In large skillet, cook onion in olive oil with salt and pepper over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add rice medley and toast for 3-5 more minutes. Add wine and stir regularly until liquid is absorbed. Add 2 ladles of hot vegetable stock and stir regularly until liquid is absorbed. Repeat until all stock is gone and rice is tender and creamy (about 30 minutes).

Mix risotto together with roasted carrot and garlic puree.

ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate Lava Cakes
TWO YEARS AGO: Halibut en Papillote

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