My mom loves carrots. From spaghetti sauce to muffins, she will find a way to put carrots into just about anything. For our Mother’s Day lunch, I decided to make one of her favorite side dishes – Carrot Rice Casserole. By the looks of it, you may not believe that there are a pound of carrots in it! The subtle creamy carrot flavor pairs perfectly with whatever protein you decide to serve.

This casserole refrigerates very well. Whatever leftovers you have will be perfect to take with you in your lunch!

Southern Carrot Rice Casserole
By Taylor
Serves 8

Ingredients:

1 pound bag peeled baby carrots
3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 cups strong chicken stock*
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, ground
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
7 cups cooked white rice

Directions:

Cook carrots, onion and thyme in stock until very tender. Drain carrots and onions, reserving stock in a separate bowl. Remove pieces of thyme and discard.

Place carrots, onions and heavy cream into a blender. Puree until smooth and creamy.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make white sauce, in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Add warm reserved stock (1 ½ cups). Stir until mixture thickens. Turn heat to low. Add peppers, salt, nutmeg, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add the carrot puree, sauce, and rice. Stir until well combined. Pour creamy rice mixture into a buttered casserole dish and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

* Tip: To make stock stronger, reduce boxed chicken stock by a third and then use

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