‘Creamy’ Roasted Fennel Puree
3 small to medium fennel bulbs (save the fronds)
1 small red onion (or two shallots)–chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons earth balance (or butter/margarine)
1/2 cup raw cashews–soaked 5 hours to overnight
1/2 cup almond milk (or preferred type of milk)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon lemon zest
carrots and parsnips (to serve on the side)
*Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash parsnips, carrots, and fennel. Peel carrots and parsnips, cut off ends, add to large baking dish. Cut off tops of fennel bulb (save fronds). Remove the outside layer of the fennel bulb. Cut in half. Add to baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil (~ 1/8 to 1/4 cup depending on size of vegetables). Sprinkle with salt. Roast 15 minutes, turn carrots and parsnips. Roast another 15 minutes, then remove carrots and parsnips. Turn the fennel, roast just the fennel for a final 15-20 minutes or until fennel is soft and caramelized.
*Chop onion. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in small frying pan over medium/medium low heat. Add onion. Saute onion slowly just until translucent and soft. Set aside.
*Heat earth balance over medium low heat in a medium saucepan until it fully melts. Add flour. Mix to incorporate. Cook 2-3 minutes (do not let your roux turn brown). Add broth and almond milk. Mix to completely dissolve the roux (the mixture will thicken). Cook for approximately 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens slightly. Turn heat to low.
*Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Add cashews to food processor. Pulse until they become meal-like. Add a few tablespoons of the broth-almond milk mixture and pulse. Keep adding broth-almond milk mixture and pulsing until the cashews are fully smooth and have a paste-like consistency similar to hummus (you will not use all of the broth-almond milk mixture)
*Add the pureed cashews to the remaining broth-almond milk mixture and mix to fully combine. Add 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, mustard powder, pinch of salt. Keep on low. Stir occasionally.
*Add onions to food processor, along with roughly chopped roasted fennel. Blend. Add 1/2 cup of cashew-broth-almond milk mixture. Blend. Add another 1/2 cup of cashew-broth-almond milk mixture. Blend. In total, I added 1 1/4 cups of the cashew-broth-almond milk mixture and had about 1/4 cup of cashew-broth-almond milk mixture leftover. In hindsight, I probably could have used it all. Basically, keep adding it until you get your desired consistency.
*Adjust seasoning (salt/white pepper). Serve with roasted parsnips and carrots. Garnish with lemon zest and fennel fronds.