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Recipes and Stories

25 March 2016: Make-Ahead Easter I, Carrot Puree

Carrot Puree, a simple yet luscious beginning for Easter Dinner that can be made well ahead of time

My favorite beginning for Easter dinner, or, for that matter, any other spring celebration meal, is with a simple puree of fresh, spring carrots.

It’s so easy to make: though they were originally pureed by rubbing them through a wire mesh sieve, a process that took no particular skill but a fair amount of elbow-grease, if your kitchen is equipped with a blender, food processor, or that favorite modern chef’s tool, the hand blender, there’s nothing to it.

Best of all for the busy host, it can not only be made ahead, but is actually improved by it, so you are freed up to enjoy your company or take care of last minute chores that can’t be done earlier.

Carrot Puree
Serves 6-8

About 2 pounds young carrots with leafy tops still attached
1 bouquet garni made up with a leafy celery top, sprig of parsley, and 2 sprigs of thyme, and a sprig or two of bright carrot tops
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped or thinly sliced shallots or yellow onion
4 cups thinly sliced spring leeks (both white parts and tender greens)
3 quarter-sized slices gingerroot
4 cups water or mild broth
2-3 tablespoons raw (Turbinado) sugar, if needed
Salt and whole white pepper in a mill
1-2 tablespoons each chopped carrot tops and snipped chives, for garnish

1. As you trim the carrots, save a handful of the healthy greens, washing and setting them aside. Trim the carrots; if they’re young, just scrub them well under cold running water; if they’re mature, scrub and peel them. Thinly slice.

2. Put the butter and shallot or onion in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart pot over medium low heat. Sweat, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add leeks), stir well, and cook until leeks are wilted but not in the least colored, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the carrots and ginger, raise heat to medium high, and toss until hot through. Add the water, bring to a boil, and adjust to a gentle simmer. If the carrots aren’t very sweet, add 2-3 tablespoons raw sugar as needed. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Let it cool slightly and remove the ginger and bouquet garni. Puree it with a blender or food processor fitted with steel blade or hand blender. (Again, the smoothest puree will be with regular blender, coarsest with stick blender.)

4. Taste and season well with salt and white pepper. If you’re making it ahead or serving it chilled, let it cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to four days.

5. To serve it warm, gently bring it back to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring often. To serve it chilled, take it from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for half an hour before ladling it into individual servings. If it’s too thick, thin with a little water; some cooks add cream for a richer soup. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with chopped carrot tops and snipped chives.

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