Purées are so simple and so often overlooked as an alternative side dish. Maybe it is the extra step of puréeing the vegetable I am not sure. I am especially fond of carrot puree because it really highlights the carrots flavor, goes great with rich roasted meats, mostly beef and lamb and is a great change from hunks of stewed carrot.
If at the end of puréeing the carrots you find the carrots too wet add a touch, a teaspoon or two at a time, of instant mashed potato powder to absorb the excess liquid and act as a thickener.
I often make this early and then set it in a makeshift bain marie or double boiler, in other words a mixing bowl set snuggly over, but not touching the water, a saucepan filled with an inch of water and set over low heat so it simmers. I then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid of some sort. —thirschfeld
1 1/4 pounds
carrots, rinsed and peeled
sea or kosher salt plus more for seasoning the puree
After you have peeled the carrots cut them into equal lengths and those that are larger in diameter cut in half lengthwise. The idea is to get all the pieces approximately the same size so they all cook at the same time.
Place the carrots into a saucepan large enough for the carrots to feel comfortable. Add enough cold water to the pan to cover the carrots by approximately 1 inch. Add the honey, 1 teaspoon of salt, bay leaf, thyme, red wine vinegar, one tablespoon of the butter and a grind or two of fresh ground white pepper.
Place the pot over medium heat and gently bring it to a boil. Let the carrots cook at a gentle boil until a knife, inserted into one of the larger chunks, pierces it without much resistance. This should take in the neighborhood of 30 minutes. You want to be careful with your cooking time here. If you overcook the carrots you risk tastelessness and if you undercook them you wii have unappealing chunks.
Once the carrots are done empty the pan into a colander to drain. Remove the thyme branches, don't worry about any leaves, and the bay leaf.
This step is important. Let the carrots sit in the colander and steam out the extra moisture. The carrots will go from looking wet to looking dry and then you want them to dry out even a little more. You can always reheat the purée if needed but it is important to let them release the excess moisture.
Place the carrots into a food processor. Add the remaining butter and process until smooth. Taste and season the puree with salt and pepper then whiz it around again to mix. Add more butter if it seems to need it otherwise, serve it up.