Thursday, August 15, 2013

From the DIY Kitchen: Carrot Bredie

At my past job in Houston, I coordinated fundraising events for our organization. One of the events I helped coordinate took place at Vintage Park, a shopping center in Northwest Houston. The center started building at a tough time economically, right before the Fall of 2008, so when we started holding the event there, most of the store fronts were empty. There were (and still are) a few restaurants that attracted crowds despite the rest of the center being pretty quiet. My volunteer planning committee held lunch meetings at a different restaurant each month - it was a great way to support the restaurant owners, and a lot of them were really delicious, too! In the three years that I organized the event there, people became more and more aware of the shopping center, in no small part because of a few of the restaurants. One of those is Peli Peli - which is a South African Fusion restaurant. They are pretty pricy at dinner, but their lunch menu is affordable and just as delicious, and they run Groupons fairly often which can be used at dinner. This long-winded introduction is to tell you about one of my favorite dishes there, which is actually a side dish called carrot bredie. It's the consistency of mashed potatoes, but made of carrots, potatoes, leeks or onions, and spices. Naturally, I had to find a way to replicate it after we moved away! I Googled "carrot bredie" and noticed that most of the recipes were on blogs who ALSO enjoyed the side dish at Peli Peli...it's that good!

I tweaked a few recipes to come up with the one that we like the most - and the spices used could definitely be tweaked to your tastes, so the sky's the limit on this one.

Carrot Bredie
Makes about 2 servings

Olive oil cooking spray
5 carrots (or about 15-20 baby carrots) rough chopped
5 small red potatoes, scrubbed and rough chopped, skin on
1/6 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (some recipes use water but I prefer the flavor of chicken broth)
Basil, Oregano, Marjoram (or other spices you prefer) to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Heat large saucepan over medium high heat. Spray olive oil cooking spray and add onions and garlic, cook about a minute, stirring often. Add the chopped carrots, onion, 1 cup of chicken broth, and spices (I usually wait and add salt & pepper last).

Reduce heat to medium and cover, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are soft. (You may have to add up to 1/2 a cup more broth, depending on how much is lost to steam etc.)

When the vegetables are soft, use an immersion blender, or regular blender to mashed the vegetables. Or, if you prefer the potatoes and carrots to be chunkier, use a hand mixer - I've done it both ways and slightly prefer the chunkier preparation, which is the way Peli Peli serves it. Add salt & pepper to taste.

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