Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Mash 'o' Nine Sorts

As the end of harvesting nears, nothing is better than a warming dish of Mash 'o' Nine Sorts for celebrating seasonal abundance. Nine refers to the number of ingredients (the seasoning is counted as one), of which five are autumnal vegetables, and sorts refer to the chance of getting a portion that had a ring secreted in it. Cheddar, butter, and cream bind it together. Salt and freshly ground black pepper is all that is needed to accentuate its earthiness. Sporting a surface speckled with green, orange, yellow, and tiny bursts of red, my version, made from what recently has been harvested from our potager, could stand on its own decoratively, but two carrots shaped from their mash brightens it further.

Shallots, beet greens, potatoes & pumpkin came from our potager

Some of our harvested pumpkins had streaks of green so they were left out during the day in the sunshine to turn fully orange.

Hard stalks and skin are signs that they are ready to be harvested

Scrub well. Slicing off the stem end enables easier quartering. Scrape away the seeds and peel the quarters.


Ingredients and basic information are in bold. Put a medium-large pot of water on the boil. Chop into chunks 1 large carrot, 3 large potatoes, and a small pumpkin (the size of a cantaloupe). Add the carrots first for about five minutes, then the pumpkin for another five minutes, and finally the potatoes. Simmer till all are tender. Drain and return to pot. Over low heat, while gently shaking the pan, carefully dry out the veggies which takes a few minutes. Put them temporarily in a 23 cm/9-inch pie plate. Preheat oven to 177 degrees C/350 degrees F. Finely chop a small handful of trimmed beet leaves and five shallots. Saute them, using the same pot in which the veggies were cooked, in 2 T of butter for a few minutes. Return the other veggies, reserving about ten carrot chunks and a few bits of beet greens for the decoration, to the same pot. Wipe clean the pie plate and butter it.


Oh, the wonderful smell these veggies emitted when being mashed! I wanted to dive into the bowl head first. I went the lumpy route but if a smoother texture is desired, then a ricer would work.


Add 2 T of cream and 10 heaping tablespoons of grated cheddar. Mix well and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Mash the reserved carrots and shape on a plate. Add the reserved beet greens. Play around till you get the design you want.


Put the mash in the buttered pie plate. Tuck in a ring if you wish. Smooth the surface. Using a small spoon, transfer the carrot mash in portions. Perfect the shape by making the ends pointy and the tops thicker and rounded. Add the green leaves. Bake from thirty to forty minutes or till well browned. I didn't budge too far from the kitchen while it was baking, because my nose was so regaled by the comforting fragrance being emitted, that it told me to stay put.


It is delicious served hot, tepid, and cold. In the last case, some thin ham slices would be a perfect accompaniment.


In the garden, potted zinnias are providing a vivid flash of colour.


À la prochaine!