I had a surplus of carrots in the fridge and decided to turn them into a carrot mash to have in place of mashed potatoes with dinner. I’ve recently been experimenting with the more aromatic spices in my savoury cooking such as fennel, cardamom and cumin and so decided to add some crushed fennel seeds to my carrot mash.
Fennel has an aromatic, slightly aniseed flavour to it and I could imagine it working well with the sweet carrots. To add more flavour and a touch of luxury to my carrot mash, I poached the carrots in fennel infused milk rather than boiling them in water and then used this lightly spiced milk mixture to puree with the carrots.
I decided to make a thick mash, so only used about half the milk mixture when pureeing the cooked carrots. I ate some of it warm with dinner and put the rest in the fridge for later. I intended to reheat it, but on a whim I used it as a spread in a wrap with some falafel and it was delicious! I then ate the rest of it as you would houmous so it works brilliantly hot or cold. I think I almost preferred it cold as the fennel flavour seemed to have developed overnight.
The flavour of the fennel remained quite delicate, while the carrots were sweet with an almost creamy texture in the mouth, despite their slightly rough appearance (they won’t fluff up like mashed potatoes). The subtle aniseed flavour paired brilliantly with the sweet carrot and transformed a standard side dish into something special. The carrots natural orange brightness added colour to anything I served it with.
A quick a delicious way to use up those often overlooked carrots. If you don’t fancy fennel seeds, try coriander or cumin instead. Sorry for the poor photos, it was dark and I was hungry J
Carrot & Fennel Seed Mash
5 large carrots
2 tsp fennel seeds
Salt & pepper
Peel and roughly chop the carrots. Lightly crush the fennel seeds to break them slightly. Add the carrots and fennel to a pan with enough milk to nearly cover them.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and then leave to cook for 15-20 minutes until the carrot is completely softened. As there is less liquid, stir occasionally to ensure an even cooking.
Add the softened carrot to a small blender along with half the milk (leave the fennel seeds in). Blitz to form a puree, adding more milk until you have the thickness you desire be it a thick mash/houmous consistency or a thinner style puree.
Season to taste.
Serve warm in place of mashed potatoes or cold as a dip or sandwich filling, as you would houmous.