Note: I am lucky enough to be posting this recipe on Three Many Cooks tomorrow. I just couldn’t help sharing it with you first. Shhhhhh…..
It is inevitable that our holiday traditions change. When I was young my family and I would spend every Thanksgiving at my aunt Suzanne’s, her house filled to the brim with our large family. As the youngest of the cousins, my sister and I were always looking up. How could we not fill our plates with whatever our experienced cousins recommended? This must have been many of our first introductions to vegetables, finally feeling excited about eating something green. As we grew our cousins married, our family moved, everything put us in the position to no longer celebrate Thanksgiving where we used to. We could, however, celebrate it how we used to. Our food can always stay the same.
At Easter Aunt Suzanne always finds a place at our table through her beautiful Festive Carrot ring. A recipe that is absolutely gorgeous, soft as a soufflé, and absolutely festive. Every year my mother pulls this recipe from her box, handwritten on an index card. I remember first going through my mother’s recipe box when I became truly interested in cooking. My heart raced as I found the source of our family’s traditions. Here were Grammie’s chocolate chip cookies, Nanny’s Norwegian pancakes, Suzanne’s Festive Carrot Ring. I sat down during the course of an entire college break to write these recipes by hand myself. When beginning my own blog, these were my sources of inspiration, this was how I realized how deep rooted and personal good taste is and how intrinsically linked it is to falling in love with that first bite, repeated year after year.
This Easter, ever changing, we will be celebrating with a family brunch. With no room for carrot soufflé at the dinner table, I am glad to have tested this recipe in Pam’s kitchen. How rare and thrilling to share my heritage with someone else, and to share Aunt Suzanne’s recipe with all of you.
Festive Carrot Ring
Serves 8 to 10
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 onion, cut into small dice
1 cup milk
1 cup plain dried bread crumbs
ground black pepper
3/4 cup (3 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 box (10 ounces) frozen green peas
Adjust oven to lower middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place carrots, 2 tablespoons butter, a sprinkling of salt, and 1/2 cup of water in a large skillet. Turn heat to high, put lid on and cook until carrots are just tender and liquid has evaporated, about ten minutes. Remove lid and add onion to the skillet. Cook until tender, two to three minutes.
Meanwhile, beat eggs in a blender. Slowly add the milk and let whirr until blended, about 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly add carrots and onion. Increase speed and puree until smooth. Fold in bread crumbs, cheese, and pepper.
Spoon carrot mixture into a well-greased 1 1/2 quart ring mold. Bake until firm and top is golden, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, microwaves peas and remaining tablespoon butter, covered, on high power until steamy hot, about 6 minutes. Serve; filling center with cooked peas.