I enjoy the weekly post I do with The Food Network. Right now we’re in the series for #SensationalSides and it’s always a challenge to try and think of something unique to match the theme they provide. This week was no exception and I’ll be honest; when the theme is ‘Mashed’ I’m sure I wasn’t alone when my first thought was potatoes. And my second thought was…do something different. Well, I promise you this Roasted Carrot and Leek Mash is different!
Inspired as I often am by my fridge, I had just been to Costco and bought some carrots. Although ‘some’ is highly subjective isn’t it? When shopping at Costco, especially when cooking for one or two, some means A WHOLE LOTTA CARROTS!! So I figured, hey…they’re a root vegetable; why not mash them?
Honestly easier said than done. I have discovered through this process just how big a difference there is in the makeup of potatoes and carrots and while I suppose I could share with you some scientific moment detailing those differences I won’t bother but suffice to say, they don’t quite mash like potatoes, nope…not at all! And I say that with confidence that I know I tried, I really did; it was like a minor gym workout!
Soooooo…long story short? They have been mashed with the help of my food processor and I can share with you that some research after the fact found most recipes doing the same thing. OK, whew…it wasn’t just me.
So I finally got my carrots, garlic and leeks all mashed but with a bit of texture and it hit me like a lead balloon. I’m not sure I should even share what hit me but why not? There was an OMG moment of realizing I had done this before. Sure, without the seasonings and butter but still…my babies had eaten something very similar. Did I just make baby food? Once I got that thought into my head I felt doomed. How could I share baby food? I had finished late and I was tired and seriously ‘this close’ to writing the coordinator for our Thursday posts and telling her I wouldn’t be contributing this week when I was rescued by my neighbor Amy.
She called just as I was struggling with my dilemma and I thought…let Amy try them. Don’t mention baby food and see what she thinks. So we met at my front door; me to give her some carrots and her to bring over her dog who was going to spend the night. I asked her to take them home and to give me an honest opinion. This is what she sent me via text shortly thereafter. “It’s good! They have a savory…not too sweet flavor. Leeks add a nice touch, but not too much. Just right, like Goldilocks!’ Not one word about baby food. Whew!
Granted I am my own worst critic but with a renewed confidence that these would pass muster I’m here today with this Roasted Carrot and Leek Mash. In the light of a new day after a decent sleep I tried them again and she was right…they are just so good. Using the food processor I was able to get a smoothish consistency but just as I love my mashed potatoes ‘smashed’ and not totally smooth, I also left some texture in these. Topped just like I would mashed potatoes with a pat of butter and some salt and pepper they were great even for breakfast. Would it be going too far if I trying making fried mashed carrot cakes? Yeah, maybe so huh…but it doesn’t mean I won’t try!
Roasted Carrot and Leek Mash
- 1/4 cup pure olive oil
- 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise (about 3/4 cup)
- 4 pounds carrots, halved lengthwise
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 Tablespoon of honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup half-and-half, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400° and grease 2 large rimmed baking sheets with vegetable or olive oil..
- Combine the olive oil, leeks, carrots, thyme, and honey with salt and pepper and combine till all pieces are coated.
- Arrange the mixture on the baking sheets. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the carrots are very tender and browned on the bottom.
- In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock, half and half, and butter. Add the carrots and leeks and simmer on low for approximately 10 minutes. Put the mixture into a food processor in batches and pulse to desired consistency.
- Add the chopped parsley, taste and adjust seasoning if desired and serve hot with a pat of butter and parsley for garnish (optional).