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Miss Evelyn's Carrot Casserole
When I was growing up, a beautiful woman named Evelyn worked for my grandparents as a cook - and she could turn out the most wonderful things. One of my favorites was a carrot casserole. The funny thing was that I despised carrots and bell pepper both as a child. But the way she did it transformed both vegetables into something just extraordinary, and I asked for this all the time.
As an adult, I began making it myself, and changed very little about it over the years - although I've attempted a hundred variations. Her way was just the best. I did update the bechamel, and shortened the cooking time to maintain the vegetables' crispness, but not much else. This is very much comfort food for me - but even picky eaters love this one. My thanks to Evvie for the gift of this luscious dish.
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tbsp.butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 Tbl flour
- 1 pinch nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp pepper (to taste)
- In a medium saucepan place the carrots, bell pepper and onion. Add just enough water to cover, and add a good pinch of salt.
- Place saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer just until vegetables are beginning to get tender. Don't over cook them - you want them just barely done. About ten minutes with the physics of my kitchen. :-)
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt together the butter and cream cheese. Whisk well - it will be lumpy and odd looking - don't worry about it.
- Sprinkle flour into pan, and continue whisking well until you've got a smooth paste.
- A little at at time, about a 1/4 cup or so at at time, add half and half to flour mixture, whisking well to incorporate at each addition. Once all the half and half has been added, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Allow cream sauce to simmer for just a minute or two, then remove from heat. When vegetables are done, drain them well, and combine the vegetables and cream sauce. Place mixture in a 4 cup casserole.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or just until the edges are beginning to bubble and the sauce has fully thickened. Don't overcook, or the veggies will get mushy.
- That's it - all done!
- The Thrillbilly Gourmet
Combining classic technique with everyday food for spectacular results!