Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Roasted Beets & Carrots with Cumin Chickpea Puree

More having people over, more racking my brains at the store, not having planned ahead, for a recipe I've made enough times to remember everything I need. Luckily, my memory scan hit upon this slightly quirky duo that I dug up some time ago on Epicurious. As usual, I've tweaked (also as usual, mostly by upping spices and simplifying steps), so here it is. There are 3 components so getting it all to be done at the same time is mildly challenging. Also, you'll almost surely have leftover puree, and that is a glorious thing for future snacking - I make it by itself all the time.

Ingredients - roasted beets & carrots:
6-10 beets (some golden if available)
Baggie of baby carrots
Thyme, salt, pepper
1/2 c olive oil

Ingredients - vinaigrette:
1/2 c olive oil
3 TB red wine vinegar
1.5 tsp toasted cumin seeds
.5 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 of a red onion, or 3 shallots, very thinly sliced (if no mandolin use veggie peeler!)
large handful chopped cilantro

Ingredients - chickpea puree:
1 can chickpeas
1 can kidney or pinto beans
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne chili powder
1.5 tsp toasted cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 c olive oil

1. Get your beets and carrots roasting.
Trim and wash your beets and maybe chop the big ones in half. Throw em in a baking pan with 1/4 cup olive oil, cover with foil, and stick in a 400 degree oven. (They need 45 minutes or so to get good and soft.) Throw the carrots in a second baking pan with the other 1/4 cup, plus salt, pepper, and thyme. (They need 20 minutes, so add them after beets have been in for 25.) This recipe is REALLY amazing if you have fresh beets and carrots from the summer farmer's market, especially if you can get those really deep red carrots. Mmmmmm.

2. Get your puree simmering.
After you toast the cumin, heat 1/4 cup of oil and throw 1.5 tsp cumin seeds and the chopped garlic in there for about a minute. Then add the chickpeas and beans, reserving their liquid in a bowl. Throw in spices and stir till the chickpeas start to darken. Then, add the liquid from the can back in - just enough to reach the level of the tops of the chickpeas/beans. Turn down to medium and simmer. We'll come back to this in a bit.

3. Make your vinaigrette.
Put the vinegar, lemon juice, and cumin in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil till it emulsifies. Toss in the paper-thin onion and the cilantro so they'll soak a bit.

4. Puree the puree.
When the beans seem totally soft - nearly ready to fall apart - and the cooking liquid is getting thick, pour the beans in a strainer and again, retain the cooking liquid in a bowl underneath. Put them in a blender or food processor with 1/4 c olive oil and 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and puree like crazy. You want this thick, velvety, and totally smooth.

5. Veggies in vinaigrette.
After all this frenzied activity, your beets and carrots should be good to go. Peel the beets (when I do this, I inevitably burn my fingers and turn them red, so you're on your own as to technique) and cut into chunks of comparable size to the carrots. Then toss beets and carrots into vinaigrette.

6. Serve.
I sometimes serve the veggies over a base (tonight, acini di pepe - cute!) - it will turn charmingly/frighteningly purple, as so many things do when beets are introduced. Put a dollop of chickpea puree on the side and serve with some store-brought crispy flatbreads or crackers (a rosemary flavor goes nicely). Oh, and cross your fingers that your guests like beets, since you forgot to ask, you jerk.

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