Thursday, November 25, 2010

Harissa-Spiced Carrot Potato Purée

You may have noticed that I've been briefly absent but I had really good reasons. My belongings arrived via boat after being stuck in the ocean for weeks due to sea congestion (who knew), I had to jump through all sorts of hoops at customs and quarantine once my many boxes were finally off the boat, and I moved into a new apartment -- it was all a little bit trying.

Enough about that for I have far nicer things to discuss like having a kitchen stocked with all my handy tools and essential items. My All-Clad pots and pans were the most welcome items as there is just no substitute for excellent cookware. I feel like me again and suspect that I'm finally getting a hang of this whole living-in-another-country thing.

I was at the grocery store thinking that it's sort of strange that in the 4 months that I've been in Australia, I have yet to eat, or cook, any lamb. I got some beautiful-looking loin chops and perused the aisles thinking about what should go with them. I spied a tube of harissa paste, a common North African staple, and thought that the piquant, red paste would set off some carrots nicely. I cooked the carrots with a potato to give the puree some heft and played off the carrot's sweetness by adding a touch of brown sugar.

This puree is a gorgeous color with an underlying spiciness. The harissa's heat sneaks up on you quickly so depending on your tolerance, add a 1/2 teaspoon to start and go from there.

For 4 servings:
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup reserved cooking water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon harissa paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place the carrots in a medium pot and cover them with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and strongly simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes more or until both vegetables are easily pierced with a fork. Drain, reserving the cooking water.

Put the vegetables in a mixing bowl along with 1/4 cup cooking water, butter, oil, a 1/2 teaspoon of harissa paste, brown sugar and the salt. Mix on high speed until thoroughly combined and smooth. Alternatively, this can also be pureed in a food processor. Taste and add a bit more salt and harissa if desired.

Serve, sprinkled with the parsley.

1 comment:

Scott Rohr said...

Yay for a stocked kitchen!
Thinking about you lots today, and remembering the best Thanksgiving dinners ever, long ago in a different lifetime for both of us.