Thursday, August 16, 2012

Creamed Veggies

While planning meals for the week, I always ask my husband for input on the menu, which usually elicits responses in the range of our standard favorites. (Occasionally, I will get answers like "rice", and that is all. Really shooting for the stars there, my friend...) This week he requested Creamed Veggies, and I got really excited because I love it, and then I realized that I still hadn't shared it with you guys! So here it is.

Like so much of what I share here, it's pretty simple fare: Potatoes, and carrots cooked until just tender, and tossed in a basic white sauce punctuated with pops of bright, green peas.

It's one of my favorite dishes from way, way back. My mom made it frequently for us, which has secured it in the realms of nostalgia. I remember it from Sunday suppers with grilled chicken and green salad on the side, or sometimes with pot roast.

But to relegate it to a "side dish" just seems wrong to me. On our birthdays, Mom would ask us what we wanted for our birthday dinner. The standard response was "Stuffed Shells!", but sometimes I would request this. Since it's so simple, I know my mom sighed with relief when I did. And to me, it's always been more than an accompaniment, it was almost always the main event, at least for me.

You can jazz it up, I suppose. I've seen similar recipes where they've added freshly chopped dill, which is pleasant, but it's perfect at its most basic with just the right amount of salt and pepper. (Emphasis on the pepper, if you please.)

Creamed Veggies

2 or 3 large potatoes, diced
2 carrots, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
3 c. milk
1/2 c. frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped, or 1 tsp. dried dill (optional)

Place potatoes and carrots in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the vegetables by about 1/2 inch to an inch. Bring to a boil, and cook until potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add flour and let cook for a minute before whisking in milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened. (It should be thick enough that it holds a line when you draw your finger through the sauce that coats the back of your wooden spoon.) Add seasonings to taste, then stir in cooked potatoes and carrots and frozen peas.

Serve as soon as peas have thawed completely (which will be pretty much immediately).

Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill if you're feeling fancy.

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