Recipe: Texas Carrot Soufflé

This seasonal side pairs beautifully with all manner of hearty meat dishes.

This is a side dish at one of my favorite Texas BBQ spots: Willy Ray's, in Beaumont. But it goes beautifully with all manner of hearty meat dishes. . . including plain old brisket that hasn't been smoked in the Texas style.

1 pound large carrots
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
cooking spray

NOTE: This recipe makes enough carrot soufflé to feed six people. For a twelve-person party, you'll want to double the recipe; simply prepare two batches of it, working simultaneously, in two 8" cake pans. For shopping, of course, you'll need to double the list above.

1. Peel the carrots; discard ends.  Cut the carrots into 1-inch chunks.

2. Put carrots into the work bowl of a food processor; add enough water to just cover carrots. Pulse carrots until they're coarsely chopped; be careful not to overprocess as you do not want purée. Drain the carrots in a colander, reserve, and rinse out the work bowl of the food processor.

3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add ½ cup of the sugar and the drained carrots. Cook, uncovered, until the carrots are candied and nearly translucent; this could take from 30 to 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally, as the sugar mixture can scorch easily once the liquids from the carrots and butter evaporate.  Remove from heat and cool.

4. When the candied carrot mixture has cooled, transfer it to the rinsed work bowl of the food processor.  Add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, the eggs, the vanilla extract, the flour, the baking powder, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.  Pulse, scraping down the sides as needed, until the ingredients are just combined.  (You still want to see discrete pieces of carrot.  Do not purée.)

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Lightly film an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.  Transfer carrot mixture to the cake pan.  Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 60 minutes, or until the top just begins to brown. Place on buffet table so guests may scoop out their own helpings.

Makes 6 side-dish servings.


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