I am very excited to share today's recipe with you for a couple of reasons. First, it is from the cookbook Recipes from the Root Cellar: 270 Ways to Enjoy Fresh Winter Vegetables! A whole cookbook dedicated to winter vegetable cooking! I got it from the library, but I may actually have to purchase this little gem. Honestly, even just from the few hours I have had to look through it - this will be a great asset to anyone who cooks seasonally. I have a fridge full of carrots and I was able to find a recipe that really showcases the carrot in a different way! The other reason is that this is the first time I've made a recipe that calls for whipped egg whites. Every time I read anything about stiff peaks in the context of cooking, I shy away. Not any more! I whipped those bad boys into stiff peaks by hand (wink wink). It took about 5 minutes of work, but I did it! I don't need your stinkin' kitchen aide mixer!
I cut the recipe in half and so there were about three servings . Mallory and I both ate one serving as a fourth meal kind of thing and she has already laid claim to the leftovers for lunch [I ate them for breakfast the next day - oops!]. This would be an excellent dish to bring to a brunch or to go with the Christmas ham. It's really light and airy, tastes almost like a quiche or a frittata but the cornmeal adds a nice flavor.
Overall, my first experience with this cookbook has been amazing. I made two substitution. One was for the tarragon. I didn't have any in my pantry and basil was a good substitute. The other was for the shallots.After reading red onions were a good substitution for shallots, I have gladly switched to the more affordable option. However, this time all I had were white onions. I don't get picky about such thing. I did read somewhere that you can sub a little garlic and white onions for shallots as well. So don't ever feel you have to buy overpriced shallots. Sometimes, I splurge if I really want a recipe to shine, but for the most part I really don't care. I put this recipe together in about 45 minutes - even with the egg white whipping. The glow of mastering a technique and the taste of the final product... so worth it!
Have you made stiff peaks yet?
Carrot Spoon Bread
2 cups milk
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup lightly packed grated sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
1 pinch dried tarragon
4 eggs, separated
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 2-quart souffle dish or 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
2. Combine the milk, carrots, shallot, cornmeal, butter, salt, and pepper to taste in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, until the mixtures is thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the cheese and tarragon. Let cool until just warm to the touch, about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in the egg yolks until well blended.
4. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Stir one-third of the whites into the whites into the cornmeal mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula. Pour into prepared dish.
5. Place the dish in the oven and lower temperature to 375F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is browned and the center is barely set. Serve immediately.