I hate carrots but I absolutely love this accidental carrot puree au gratin. What an oxymoron, I know. But I have never spoken truer words before. And I promise to address every single one of them below.
Perhaps I should explain why this puree was accidental in the first place.
It all started a few weeks ago. At the time, I needed to bring colors to my cast iron grilled cabbage plate. Since I had some old wrinkly carrots in the pantry, I set out to boil and puree them. On a whim, I tossed some cabbage scrapes in there. All this just for the sake of not wasting vegetables and improving my plating. As I reduced the boiled vegetables to a puree, I had no intention of actually eating it. In my mind, it was garnish. But I also knew it had to be edible. I, thus, seasoned it. Lightly. All this without trying to perfect it. Or at least I thought I wasn’t perfecting it. Turns out, I had accidentally created a masterpiece.
My carrot puree was a burst of flavors.
It hit all the right chords on my carrot-hater palate. And I fell for it. I kid you not. I fell hard for this carrot puree. Real hard. And so did my family. The following weekend marked the beginning of our carrot puree au gratin adventure. Looking for the best recipe, we tried it without cabbage, with Haitian carrots and imported carrots. We were pleased with the results, every single time. The au gratin version is the one that stuck because it is thicker and creamier than the mere puree. The final recipe I am sharing with you doesn’t include cabbage anymore either. Turns out, the carrot puree au gratin is good in itself without any distracting ingredients.
The most surprising part for me, however, is the fact that the taste remained pleasant regardless of the type of carrots we used. The Haitian carrot version was a shocker for me. I typically have a strong aversion for these local carrots. They’re organic, hormone free. They’re thus bold in flavor. Bolder than their imported counterparts. They’re carrots that taste like carrots. Carrots I hate because they taste like a carrot should. Yet, in that puree, they taste nothing like the carrots I always avoid at all costs. Bright and colorful both on the plate and the palate, this puree took carrots to another level for me.
Though I still avoid the vegetable in other forms, this carrot puree au gratin is one I will definitely keep on making.
This recipe is one for the books. The most amazing thing about it all is that the vegetables are not buried under a rich sauce that could alter or hide their taste. This is purely pureed carrots seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, a splash of cream and some grated Tête de Maure (aged Edam) cheese. Nothing less, nothing more. But somehow, it has conquered my carrot-hater palate.
Quick & Easy Cheesy Carrot Puree au Gratin
- 3 large sized carrots
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp of cornstarch
- 1/3 cup of cream
- ¼ cup of grated Tête de Maure cheese
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Wash, peel and dice your carrots
- Transfer them to a pot and cover with water
- Add the garlic cloves
- Bring to a boil until the carrots are fork tender
- Remove the vegetables from the water and puree them, garlic included
- Pour that puree into a pot and cook on low until the juice dries out
- Incorporate the cornstarch and mix well
- Season with salt and pepper
- Add the cream and the grated cheese
- Season to taste
- Mix until the cheese has fully melted
- Remove from stove and transfer to a buttered baking dish
- Top with some more grated cheese
- Baked for about 30 to 45 minutes until the puree stops bubbling