The more I ponder carrots, the more I realize that my relationship with carrots is a curious thing. I’ve spent my entire life in the Deep South and come from a long line of farmers and backyard gardeners. My people grew commodity crops like peanuts and cotton. In their backyard gardens, they’d grow vegetables such as Southern peas, tomatoes, okra, bell peppers, collards, turnips, rutabagas, mustard, onions, eggplant,and banana peppers.
And flowers. Always flowers.
But, never carrots.
All of my family loved carrots but none of my people ever grew carrots. I was under the false impression that carrots weren’t suited to our Deep South climate. I learned differently when I sowed carrot seeds in my central Florida backyard garden and had a nice crop of carrots. Once I gained that knowledge that carrots grow in the Deep South, I was completely bumfuzzled by the carrot-less gardens of my childhood.
Our love of carrots was singularly focused. We were accustomed to eating them only one way: cooked with a beef pot roast and potatoes. Granny and Mama always threw in as many carrots as they could fit in the pot and every one was eaten. In spite of it all, our love for carrots never inspired them to serve cooked carrots in another fashion.
Granny was the best cook this side of glory. The woman never made a bad meal. She could have cooked any number of unbelievably good carrot dishes, but she stuck with what she knew. If you wanted carrots at her house, you’d have to wait for the next beef pot roast dinner.
It’s obvious to me that my family had some sort of unresolved issue(s) that manifested as a fickled relationship with carrots.
A few years ago, my daughter suggested a Carrot Souffle for Easter. The restaurant where she worked had it as a regular item on their buffet. The idea was new to me and I was intrigued. My seemingly carrot-challenged upbringing inspired a fascination with carrot recipes. The recipe she shared with me was simple and straight-forward. I checked to see if Southern Living had a version. The recipe the restaurant used was identical to Southern Living’s version which gave me confidence that it was a good recipe.
We made Carrot Souffle for Easter dinner that year. Our family was smitten. A comment was heard at Easter dinner that’s common to folks experiencing it for the first time,
“I would have never guessed this has carrots in it.”
Perhaps we’re all stuck-in-a-rut to some degree when it comes to our expectation of carrots and how they should be used.
Live a little: enjoy this Carrot Souffle and share it with people you love.
Live a lot: sow some carrot seeds in your backyard garden.
Y’all come see us!
adapted from Southern Living, December, 2001
yield: 8 servings
Light and fluffy with sweetness from carrots and brown sugar offset by buttermilk. This souffle is sure to steal the show wherever it appears. I updated the original version by decreasing the amount of sugar and substituting brown sugar for white sugar, decreasing the amount of butter, adding buttermilk and cinnamon to the recipe. Serve warm or a room temperature. I think the flavor is better if served at room temperature.
1 1/2 pounds carrots peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 large eggs, whisked until fluffy
1/2 cup buttermilk
powdered sugar for dusting
Place carrots in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Add salt. Cook about 40 minutes or until very soft.
When carrots are soft, drain. Add carrots to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth. As an alternative, puree carrots in a food processor.
Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Pour mixture into a buttered 9 inch round baking dish, or similar size.
Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes or until set.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
- Light and fluffy with sweetness from carrots and brown sugar offset by buttermilk. This souffle is sure to steal the show wherever it appears.
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots peeled and sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons self-rising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 brown sugar firmly packed
- 3 large eggs whisked until fluffy
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Place carrots in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Add salt. Cook about 40 minutes or until very soft.
- When carrots are soft, drain. Add carrots to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth. As an alternative, puree carrots in a food processor.
- Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- Pour mixture into a buttered 9 inch round baking dish, or similar size.
- Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 40 minutes or until set.
- Dust with powdered sugar before serving.