Roasted Carrot Curry with Peanut Butter

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After a holiday full of indulgences, I was looking forward to returning to some healthy cooking and to savoring my last few weeks without travel before work kicks back into gear. Who would want to leave this sweet face (our current foster, Echo, who looks like a puppy but is actually two years old)?

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One of the consequences of all of the holiday festivities is a sadly neglected vegetable bin in my refrigerator. I opened the Forgotten Drawer (probably while searching for a missing wheel of Brie or bottle of Rose) to discover I had two unopened bags of whole carrots. I could not remember purchasing them, but they appeared in good condition. And that is the dramatic, inspiring story of how this recipe came about.

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Roasted carrots are sweet and tender, with much more flavor roasted than raw or boiled carrots. Don’t skip the roasting step. The other ingredient in the recipe name may sound strange, too, but the peanut butter is equally important to the flavor of the curry. Use a creamy peanut butter, ideally a natural-style blend or a reduced sugar option. The peanut butter cuts down the heat from the curry powder and sriracha and adds a nutty, savory flavor, like African stews, almost. I prefer my curries very thick. If you’re more of a soup person, pour in additional vegetable stock after you’ve blended the curry through and can get a better sense of the density. I’ve really enjoyed this curry – I’ve had it four times in two days. That’s basically as healthy as joining a gym, right?

Roasted Carrot Curry with Peanut Butter

Yields 6-8 servings

 

You will need:

  • 12-15 carrots, unpeeled, tops removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika
  • 2 large zucchini, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (natural style or reduced sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha
  • Salt, pepper, ginger, and cayenne, to taste
  • Serving suggestions: cilantro, sliced avocado, crushed peanuts

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Chop carrots coarsely (into thirds or quarters) to make blending easier. Toss carrots in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. Arrange carrot mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast for 30-45 minutes, until the carrots are browned and fragrant. Remove carrots from oven and set aside to cool, or refrigerate if making ahead (up to three days).
  • In a large pot set to medium-high heat, add chopped onions, coarsely chopped zucchini, and remaining olive oil and garlic. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are clear and zucchini has softened.
  • Add vegetable stock, lemon juice, curry powder, and roasted carrots. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk, peanut butter, sriracha, and remaining spices. Residual heat should be sufficient to soften peanut butter and incorporate the rest of the flavors.
  • Use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the curry until smooth.
  • Return to stove if serving immediately and heat through to combine flavors. Serve hot with sliced avocado, cilantro, additional sriracha, and crushed peanuts.
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