Yeah, yeah, I know how to cook carrots. I am sure that all of you are saying that. Well, come to my house sometime and I will serve you carrots that will blow your mind. Again I learned this from my friend Jaynen, who claims to have learned so much from me but I think I got the better end of the bargain. She served me the most delicious carrots that I had ever eaten. She taught me this and it changed the way I approach carrots and many other root vegetables as well.
The Carrot Method
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4″ pieces
2 tbs butter
S & P TT
Sounds simple doesn’t it. Normally you might boil carrots, or steam them, or roast them in the oven with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary sprigs. I used to just steam them, and I liked them ok but what Jaynen did was put them in a saucepan with a little butter in the bottom, some salt and pepper and just put the lid on them and turn down the heat to low stirring them every few minutes. As the carrots lose their moisture it becomes the perfect amount of moisture to steam them. After about 10 minutes the little orange gems are just about done and the liquid will be almost gone from the bottom of the pot. At this point take off the lid, juke them up with something sweet if that is to your liking, turn up the heat and evaporate off the remaining liquid to form a glaze. This method retains all of the flavor from the carrots and cooks them perfectly. Here are a few variations I have tried but you can let your imagination run wild. Just be careful with using dried herbs and use things that go well with sweet like tarragon, dill and mint and add the fresh ones at the end. Spices like cinnamon, curry powder, coriander and nutmeg also work very well and should be added at the beginning of the cooking process.
Ginger and Orange – Add a few slices of fresh ginger at the beginning or a nice sprinkling of powdered ginger at the end and some orange marmalade.
Mint – Chopped fresh mint when you turn off the heat will curl your toes.
Cumin and Apricot – Add the cumin to the butter in the beginning and glaze with apricot jam.
I also discovered that this method works with many other root vegetables, including the dreaded beets. I use golden beets when I see them just because they are not such a mess and have a milder flavor, but I have used this method to cook the red ones too and they are quite good. Just cut the beets into a 1/2″ dice and follow the same method. Some fresh dill and a splash of cider vinegar at the end makes an award winning combination. Most people hate turnips and rutabagas because the only way that they have ever eaten them is boiled to death and mashed into a watery slurry and plopped on the plate without any thought. Turnips and rutabagas have a great natural flavor if care is taken to preserve it. Using this same method retains all of the flavor and is much more palatable to eat than a soupy pile of mashed glop.
Carrots are and other root veggies are cheap, insanely good for you and if you do them right they can be the star of even the most crowded plate.