Carrot Soufflé with Breadcrumb Pecan Topping

1½ lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (can substitute sweet potato)

¼ cup light brown sugar, packed

4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter

3 eggs

¼ cup half and half or milk

1/3 cup orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

¼ cup flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

Topping

½ cup breadcrumbs (Panko)

½ cup pecans, chopped

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Put the carrots in a large saucepan, cover with water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Using an electric beater (or a food processor), mash the carrots well, adding one at a time, the sugar, butter, eggs, half and half and lastly the orange juice and zest. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and add them to the carrots. Mix well.

Butter a deep-dish casserole dish (8×8 square or an 8” round soufflé) and transfer the sweet potato mixture to the dish. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, pecans and sugar; mix well. Add the butter, mixing with your hands until it is well incorporated. Scatter the mixture over the top of the souffle. Bake until the topping is lightly browned, 45-50 minutes. Serves 4-6.


Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

sweet potato casserole

 

 

 

Sautéed apples, a crunchy pecan crust, and spicy mashed sweet potatoes make for a sophisticated update.

3 to 3¼ lb. sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
4 T unsalted butter; more for the pan
1 C toasted and very finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 C breadcrumbs
2 T finely chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt
1 C heavy cream
Eight ¼-inch-thick slices fresh ginger, unpeeled and crushed
2 whole star anise
One 2- to 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 T plus 2 t bourbon
1½  t pure vanilla extract
3 large tart-sweet apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

Bake the sweet potatoes

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400̊F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and bake them on the sheet until completely tender when pierced with a fork, 55 to 60 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, if not working ahead, reduce the oven temperature to 375̊F.

Discard the skins and put the flesh in a medium mixing bowl. With a potato masher, work the sweet potatoes until they’re well mashed (they don’t have to be perfectly smooth).

Make the crumb topping

Melt 2 T of the butter and combine with the pecans, breadcrumbs, parsley, and two big pinches of salt in a small bowl.

Infuse the cream

Combine the heavy cream, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil (watch carefully so that it doesn’t boil over) and remove from the heat immediately. Let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a liquid measuring cup, pressing down on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the liquid. Stir in 2 T of the bourbon, the vanilla extract, and ¼ t salt.

Cook the apples

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 T butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, season with ¼ t salt, and toss well. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Lower the heat if the apples are getting too dark, but not so much that they soften without browning.

Turn off the heat, carefully add the remaining 2 tsp. bourbon and stir until it evaporates, a few seconds. Pour in 1/3 cup of the infused cream and stir until the apples have absorbed most of it, a few more seconds. Set the pan aside and let the apples cool for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally to release steam.
Assemble the casserole

Butter a shallow 3-quart baking dish (9×13-inch works well). Add the remaining cream to the mashed sweet potatoes and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt. Arrange the apples across the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the sweet potato mixture over the apples in an even layer. Top with the pecan-crumb mixture.

Bake the casserole at 375̊F until the crumb topping is dark brown (it will be browner around the edges) and the casserole is heated through, about 25 minutes.

Make Ahead Tips

You can bake and mash the sweet potatoes and make the crumb topping a day ahead (cover both and refrigerate). Bring the potatoes and crumb topping to room temperature before assembling the dish. You can also assemble and refrigerate for up to 8 hours before baking. Return to room temperature before baking.


 Wild Rice with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pecans

rice

 

You can use all wild rice or a combination of wild with basmati, brown or red Bhutanese. Lundberg mixed rice combinations are an excellent way to go.

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 ½ lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
2 T olive oil
2 C wild rice or a wild rice blend (such as Lundberg), rinsed and cooked according to package directions
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C dried cranberries
¼ C warm water
2 T red wine vinegar
¾ C toasted pecans, chopped
3 T parsley, chopped

Dressing:
3 T extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
½ t ground cumin
¼ t ground cardamom
1/8  t cinnamon
¼ C freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ C freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T minced fresh ginger

Heat oven to 400F. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet. Roast until tender and starting to brown, about 20 minutes (check earlier if your pieces are very small). While the squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes.

Cook the rice according to package directions (I like to substitute vegetable broth for water). When the rice is cooked, transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the sautéed onion and garlic.

Place the dried cranberries in a bowl with the warm water and vinegar. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then drain and add to the rice bowl. Add the parsley and pecans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, orange juice, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Add it to the rice and mix well. Gently mix in the roasted squash. Adjust for salt and pepper. Serve warm if possible, or at room temperature. Serves 8.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apple and Sage-Maple Butter

roastedRoasted sweet potatoes have a lush, tender texture and concentrated flavor. When paired with maple syrup and apples, they make a deliciously sweet side that works with anything from pan-seared steak to roasted turkey or pork loin. Use a firm, tart Granny Smith apple or try a crisp, slightly sweeter Honey Crisp or Pink Lady. Adapted by Danielle from a recipe from Fine Cooking and demoed September 23, 2014 at US Botanic Garden. Read More