Nowadays, people are making more and more of an effort to buy locally sourced ingredients, which is obviously great news. Besides being good news for the environment, this is also great news for your plate, because locally sourced ingredients usually pack way more flavour. While sticking to local ingredients can be pretty easy in a warm, bountiful climates like California, this can be a bit more of a challenge in colder climates, like here in Quebec. That's why I'm always looking for new ways to work with my old friend, the humble carrot.
Fortunately, along with the growing interest in local ingredients, there's been a surge in popularity of long forgotten heritage breeds of familiar vegetables. Usually the most common variety of stable fruits and vegetables that you see in grocery store were chosen not for there superior flavour, but because they traveled well and had long shelf lives. When smaller producers are picking which varieties to grow for local markets, this is less of a concern, so they are free to explore some neglected varieties that really deliver on flavour.
So now, when you go to the grocery store, chances are you'll have more to chose from than just the industrially grown carrots that are as big as a tree stumps and taste about the same. A good grocer or market will have all sorts of varieties, that each have their own unique flavour. When talking about red carrots, there's actually 2 different types that are becoming increasingly common. There are red carrots that are red all the way through, but then there is another variety that is purple on the outside and red/orange in the center, and that is the kind I used for my puree. The purple carrots give the puree a deep rich color, and I throw in just one red pepper to brighten it up.
This puree is great with pretty much any meat or fish. I like to add a bit of sriracha to give the puree some zing, and it can even serve double duty as the sauce for duck, pork or chicken. In my next post, I'll be doing a recipe for seared tuna that uses this red carrot puree.
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes. Makes 6 side portions.
4 cups red (or purple) carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded & roughly chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce
salt & pepper
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized sauce pot. Add the onions and sautee until they start to turn translucent, about 2 minuites. Add the garlic and sautee for another 1 minute.
2. Add the red wine and simmer until reduced by half.
3. Add the carrots, red pepper and just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the carrots are very soft, about 12 minutes.
4. Blend the puree on high speed and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter as it blends. Season with salt, pepper and sriracha.