Friday, March 25, 2011

The Food Desert Project - Beurre Rouge aux Carottes (Carrot-Red Wine Sauce)


These days, when I start casting about for a new recipe, I'm inclined to look in my pantry and then at my recipe index to see what's there and what's missing.  I had purchased a couple of cans of carrots, as they're an economical and healthy vegetable...but canned carrots require a bit of inventive intervention to get rid of that "canned" flavor.

So I toyed around with the idea of carrots, and with internet searches about carrots.  I looked at carrot halvah and carrot fudge (too unhealthy,) I looked at carrot quiches and carrot souffles (too overdone,) and I looked at mashed carrot recipes.  Truthfully, most of the recipes that appealed to me were soups, and I'm happy with the carrot soup we've got.  I was just about to give up when I realized that the index is a bit short on sauces - and found this gem on Food & Wine's website.

It's similar to a classic Beurre Rouge with only the addition of pureed carrots - but that addition makes it a totally different sauce!   The recipe recommends this as a topping for steak or eggs, but I think it would also make a terrific pasta sauce with a bit of canned salmon.  It didn't take much to food-desert-ize this recipe; just substitute a well-drained and rinsed can of carrots for the fresh, and some dried aromatics, and you're good to go!

1 14.5 oz can of carrots
2 cups red wine
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1/4 tsp granulated onion
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
6 tablespoons cold butter, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper

017Puree the carrots in a mini food processor, or mash well and then add to the blender and blend until smooth.  Pour a few tablespoons of wine over the onion, onion powder and garlic, and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Set aside.

I prefer to make reductions in my cast-iron skillet, since it retains heat and the shallow depth allows the liquid to evaporate faster.  Bring the wine to a boil, and add the soaked onion and juices.  Continue boiling until the wine darkens and is reduced by three-quarters, about the amount of time it takes to watch this video of the tsunami devouring a small marina in Japan.* 

Stir in the carrot puree.  If your sauce is not completely smooth at this point, toss it in the blender or hit it with your immersion blender, and return to a boil.  I like a heavy sauce, but if you intend to pour it, you may want to add a bit more wine until it's about the consistency you like.

024Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chilled butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I made myself some poached eggs on an English muffin to test it out; I liked it quite a lot; it's a nice bright sauce that is a good foil for somewhat plain foods.  In fact, I think this would be a much better sauce to use on my Salmon Cakes Benedict than the sauce I listed in that recipe.

* If you're as concerned about the restoration of Japan as I am, may I suggest donating to Doctors Without Borders, an excellent and highly-rated charity that is always at the forefront of disasters, natural or otherwise.  Of course, Charity Navigator is always a good place to start when looking to offer help for those in need.

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