Finnish Carrot Casserole - Porkkanalaatikko
Savory pudding-type casseroles made with root vegetables (carrot, rutabaga, potato) are typical of Finnish Christmas. The vegetables are cooked and pureed, mixed with cream or milk, egg, seasoned with dark molasses , pinch of nutmeg and slowly baked in oven until set. Like many other Finnish Christmas casserole dishes, this carrot casserole tastes a bit sweet.
- 100 ml short grain rice
- 150 ml water
- 350 ml whole milk
- 500 g carrots
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 50 ml dark molasses (honey) to taste
- 2 eggs
- 150 ml cream
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Bring the water to the boil in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until water is wholly absorbed in it. Add the milk and bring the mixture to the boil again, stirring frequently. Lower the heat to minimum, cover the pan with lid and simmer until the rice and milk have thickened into a soft-textured, velvety smooth porridge. Stir every now and then to prevent the porridge from burning on the bottom or forming a skin on the surface.
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel the carrots and cut off their ends. Slice the carrots diagonally in 1 -inch-thick slices. Toss them in a bowl with 1 tbsp melted butter. Transfer to a sheet pan in 1 layer, cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes, until tender. Transfer the carrot to a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Mix the carrot puree in the rice porridge and let the mixture cool a bit. Add the salt, molasses, nutmeg, lightly beaten eggs and cream. Pour the batter into one or two buttered oven casseroles.
- Sprinkle the surface with a thin layer of dry breadcrumbs and decorate it by pressing little bumps on it with the tip of a spoon. Dot the surface with pats of butter.
- Bake the casserole either at 175 °C for 1- 1½ hours or at 200 °C for about 1 hour until the batter is set and cooked, slightly puffed and golden brown on top. Serve the casserole with baked Christmas ham or turkey.
Although carrot casserole is always best when prepared, baked and eaten fresh from the scratch, it can be frozen after baking. In that case, omit the breadcrumbs. Let the frozen casserole thaw in refrigerator. If necessary, moisten the casserole by mixing in a bit of cream before warming it up. Cover the casserole and warm at 150 °C.