What’s Goin’ On? I’m Buggin’ All of a Sudden.

pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: add seasoning to the jam, perhaps a bit looney.

Porkkanalaatikko appears on most traditional Finnish festive tables and is traditional carrot casserole with rice cooked in milk or cream and topped with breadcrumbs. I sampled this delight when on a trip to seek the Northern lights and to ski in Finland.

Whilst the Finnish version of carrot casserole is OK as a fairly ‘solid’ side dish, I prefer my carrots a bit spicier and my casserole with a bit more liquid. So, my carrot casserole has a bit more of a nod to Morocco than Lapland.

Ingredients for Carrot Casserole

  • 6 large Carrots, make into chunks
  • 300ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 large Onion, chopped
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tbsp. Harissa paste
  • 1 tin Chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tin chopped Tomatoes
  • 2-3 slices stale Bread, made into coarse Breadcrumbs
  • Half tsp. ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Coriander
  • Half tsp. smoked Paprika
  • Quarter tsp. Chilli Flakes
  • Juice from half a Lime

How to Make Carrot Casserole

  1. Put the carrots and stock into a pan, bring to the boil, simmer gently for about 10mins.
  2. Simultaneously, fry the onion gently in a little oil until soft, again about 10mins.
  3. Add the Harissa to the onion and continue to fry for a couple of mins.
  4. Place the carrots, together with the stock, chickpeas and tomatoes into a casserole dish.
  5. Add the onion, Harissa mix and stir well.
  6. Separately, mix the dried spices in the lime juice.
  7. Add this mixture to the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.
  8. Place this dry mix on top of the carrot mix, spread it evenly and press gently to firm.
  9. Place casserole in the oven, 180oC, for about 30mins.

I prefer my casseroled carrots very soft, so I tend to lower the temperature and cook for longer and then put the dish under a hot grill for a couple of minutes, just before serving, to crisp the breadcrumb topping.

pop trivia: the soundtrack from the 1996 film, ‘Space Jam’, starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and many other Looney Tunes characters, featured ‘Salt N Pepa’ with ‘Upside Down (Round N Round)’. The tune sampled the original version by ‘Diana Ross’ written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, aka Chic.