Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Irish Cooking Night: Baby Carrots and Pearl Onions in Cream

Aside from potatoes, the first Irish themed vegetable that comes to mind is cabbage.

    What?

No! This post is not about cabbage.

     Why?

Lots of people really don't enjoy cabbage. I only enjoy it very selectively. I started looking for other vegetables that the Irish enjoy.

     They eat something besides potatoes and cabbage? What? Why have I never heard of this?



There are lots of things we never hear or learn about other countries. Honestly, that's part of the fun of cooking night: learning something new or trying something new in the kitchen about a culture often far from our own. As I dug around in the depths of googleness, I learned that the Irish eat a lot of root vegetables and vegetables grown only in cool weather in the southern U.S., such as: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage (not a surprise to most of us), kale, mushrooms, celery, and parsnips.

Carrots jumped out at me. What did they do differently with carrots? My mom puts them in roast beef. Japanese cook them with a little sugar and they're so good. What do the Irish do?

There are actually a couple recipes that I found with carrots that were considered traditional. One was called Slieve Na Mbam Carrots. The other was Baby Carrots and Onions in Cream. They're not so different from one another. The former uses cream, milk, eggs yolks and parsley. Its basically a cream sauce of sorts with parsley. The latter uses cream, pearl onions, and nutmeg. Often I dislike nutmeg but lately I've found I rather enjoy it with savory dishes. It is especially good with root vegetables. They were pretty similar and I like onions but I couldn't force myself to choose so I passed it off to Ruthann. She made an instant decision (which I appreciated) for Baby Carrots and Onions in Cream.

The recipe is super simple. It only uses five ingredients. The prepwork was minimal (peel the onions). The cook time was only about 15 minutes tops. I wondered if it would be good. I wondered if the cooking night crew would enjoy it. Lots of people don't like cooked carrots. I hoped that this might be case of some folks learning that they liked cooked carrots.

Reaction:

Most people got a couple carrots to try. A few folks got a spoonful. One thing was common though. They all CAME BACK FOR MORE! The pot of carrots were empty very quickly after people started trying them. A couple people asked about the recipe and wanted to make sure they either got it soon or it got posted soon. This recipe got 12 thumbs up!

Baby Carrots and Pearl Onions in Cream


Baby Carrots and Pearl Onions in Cream (adapted from Master Cook)

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients


2 c. water
1 Tbsp salt
1 lb baby carrots
1 lb pearl onions (~1 1/2 bags worth, since they're usually sold in 10 oz bags)
2/3 c. heavy cream
1/8 tsp nutmeg (I know, I don't usually like nutmeg. Its good here though.)
1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp pepper (adjust to taste)

How To:

1. Start by setting 2 c. of water and 1 Tbsp salt to boil in a small pot. You want to have about 1/2" of salted boiling water. Adjust water according to your pot size.

2. Rinse carrots thoroughly.

2. Peel the pearl onions

3. Place carrots and onions in the pot and reduce heat to simmer (a few small bubbles forming slowly) for 10 minutes.

4. Increase heat to boiling. Shake the pot around to prevent burning carrots and onions. Boil until all water is removed.

5. Add cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Allow to come to a simmer in the pot so that all is warmed.

6. Serve immediately.

Note: If you the carrots need to hold for longer, you may add a little more cream and set the temperature to low. As the fluid boils off the mixture will thicken but won't burn.



Hungry for more? Stay tuned for our Irish dessert next week.

Our Irish Night Menu:


Bread: Cranberry Tangelo Irish Soda Bread 
Entree: Corned Beef 
Vegetable Side #1: Haggerty (Potatoes with onions and cheese) 
Vegetable Side #2: Baby Carrots and Onions in Cream (today's post)
Dessert: Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream Icing

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