What a year. It seems like we’ve moved from hurricanes to holidays. I have to say we are most thankful for being spared flooding at both our farm locations as it gives us the opportunity to help out many of our partner farmers who suffered much more damage. Chair Road has come a long way in terms of cleanup and the residents have done a lot of repair and cleanup work. I know I saw Bob Conger working on a construction project in his back yard just last Saturday – but then, when is Bob NOT working on something?
So, with the holiday season upon us, I thought it might help to offer a couple of unique but simple side dishes made from the produce we have this Fall in the CSA (Subscription Produce Boxes.) North Carolina is famous for its sweet potatoes. We grow white, purple, and red instead of the standard orange Covington or Beauregard but either works well for our first recipe.
Bourbon Maple Sweet Potato Casserole with Toasted Pecans
6 large white sweet potatoes -peeled and sliced into ¼” slices
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup of Maker’s Mark Bourbon
½ teaspoon of salt
½ cup of quality maple syrup
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup toasted pecan halves
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish; then layer the sweet potatoes into the dish. Melt the butter, bourbon, salt, maple syrup, light brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon together. When the mixture boils, immediately pour over the layered sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. In a dry skillet, toast the pecans on medium – you’ll know they are ready by the aroma – and use them to top the casserole. Voila!
Another dish made by one our chef friends using just our fresh harvested carrots is this amazing
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large shallots, diced
2 pounds carrots, peeled and rough chopped into 1” pieces
1 teaspoon coriander
2.5 quarts of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of honey
1 cup of heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Sautee the chopped shallots in olive oil on medium-low heat until translucent (4 mins.) Add the coriander and sautee for another (1 minute.) Add the stock, honey and cream and bring it all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for (30 minutes) until the carrots are tender. Carefully puree in a blender until smooth. Season the bisque with salt and pepper as necessary and serve. Garnish with a few sprigs of the fresh carrot greens. Carrots are one of our favorite crops and we will be keeping a nearly year ‘round succession of them in the field for amazing dishes like this.
For everyone in River Bluffs. in the coming months we will be featuring recipes from residents, and we may even do our own version of Chopped with our CSA (Subscription Produce Box) customers on our website. —- Farmer Steve