Pureing Vegetables

Vegetable purées are served as side dishes or garnishes, and they are also used as ingredients in other preparations. For example, spinach purée is an ingredient in the Spinach Timbale custard on page 568.

Purées were introduced in the discussion of soups in Chapter 9.The vegetable purées we are discussing here are similar, although they are of course much thicker than soups. Procedures for puréeing vary depending on what vegetable is puréed and how the purée is to be used, but some general guidelines can be stated:

uidelines for Puréeing Vegetables

Vegetables to be puréed should be cooked until tender. Undercooked vegetables make a grainy purée. Be careful not to overcook green vegetables, which discolor when cooked too long.

Exception: A few vegetables, such as avocados and tomatoes, are tender enough to be puréed raw. Whether or not they are cooked depends on the individual vegetable and the desired use for the purée.

Vegetables for puréeing can be cooked by any method, but the most commonly used methods are boiling, steaming, and baking. Baking is used most often for starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and white potatoes.

Vegetables cooked by boiling or simmering should be drained well when done. If a stiff purée is desired, it may be necessary to dry the cooked vegetable before puréeing. Place the colander of drained vegetables on a sheet pan and set in a moderate oven for a few minutes to dry.

Always purée cooked vegetables while they are still hot. Cold vegetables are harder to purée to a smooth texture.

Select appropriate equipment. Ricers, food processors, vertical cutter/mixers (VCMs), food mills, and sieves can be used for puréeing. Food mills, ricers, and sieves make lump-free purées, but they may leave a grainy texture, depending on the vegetable. Food processors and VCMs can create a smooth texture, especially with starchy vegetables, but they do not eliminate vegetable fibers and may leave a few lumps. First using a processor and then passing the purée through a food mill yields the smoothest result.

Season and finish the purée as desired. Butter or cream is often used to finish vegetable purées. Alternatively, use the purée as an ingredient in another recipe as directed.

Peas, Carrots and Pearl Onions with Tarragon Butter

Portions: 15 Portion size: 3 oz (100 g)

U.S.

Metric

Ingredients

I

l2 oz

375 g

Pearl onions

l.

l lb

500 g

Carrots

l lb 8 oz

750 g

Peas, frozen

2 oz

60 g

Butter

2.

lZS tsp

7 mL

Dried tarragon

l tbsp

l5 mL

Chopped parsley

3.

to taste

to taste

Salt

to taste

to taste

White pepper

Calories, 90; Protein, 3 g; Fat, 3.5 g (34% cal.); Cholesterol, 10 mg; Carbohydrates, 12 g; Fiber, 3 g; Sodium, 90 mg.

Per serving:

Calories, 90; Protein, 3 g; Fat, 3.5 g (34% cal.); Cholesterol, 10 mg; Carbohydrates, 12 g; Fiber, 3 g; Sodium, 90 mg.

Peas, Carrots, and Pearl Onions with Tarragon Butter

Procedure

Blanch the onions for 20 seconds in boiling water. (Blanching makes them easier to peel.) Drain, refresh under cold water, and drain again. Peel the onions.

Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the onions, return to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer until tender. Drain, refresh under cold water, and drain again.

Peel the carrots and cut into batonnet. Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the carrots, return to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer until tender. Drain, refresh briefly, and drain again.

Bring a third pan of salted water to a boil. Add the frozen peas. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender. This only takes a few seconds. Frozen peas have already been blanched and need very little cooking. Drain, refresh, and drain again.

Mix together the three vegetables.

Heat the butter in as many sauté pans as necessary to hold the vegetables without overcrowding.

Add the vegetables and the tarragon. Toss over heat until the vegetables are hot and coated with the butter. Add the parsley and toss to mix.

Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Quantity preparation: Cook and drain the vegetables and combine in a steam table pan. Heat the butter with the herbs and ladle over the vegetables. Season and serve.

Peas, Carrots, and Pearl Onions with Tarragon Butter

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