Copyright by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved.
Is it puree or is it a mash? The two terms are used interchangeably as if the same. Puree, known more recently as mash, is an easy way to dress up just about any vegetable or rescue ones that have resided in the fridge a bit too long escaping notice. It is a process where food has been finely mashed or strained to achieve a thick pulp like consistency. While I may be accused of splitting hairs, a mash usually retains large irregular chucks and lacks a smooth texture. In most cases, you will need a food processor, blender or food mill. For those on a budget, stainless steel food mills can be purchased for as little as $50.00. If you can afford it, a food processor will be the most versatile, easy to use, and will last you a lifetime – well worth the extra bucks.
Broccoli puree first crossed my radar in the late seventies and remains my favorite today. There is something about the bright green that says happy, plus it pairs so well with any meat dish. While I could devote a whole chapter to puree recipes alone, the following broccoli puree recipe provides a solid template for future forays with other vegetables such as the ubiquitous cauliflower mash, or for more exotic concoctions such as spiced butternut squash and apple, carrot and chestnut, beet and apple, celery root and potato. You are limited only by your imagination.
The 3 keys to perfect puree are: 1) peel, roast, boil or steam your vegetable/fruit well, so it purees into a dense smooth pulp; 2) in the case of green veggies, blanch immediately, so the cooking process is stopped and color is not lost; and finally, 3) drain well or you end up with soup.
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