Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Exotic Honey Glazed Carrots



There was a holiday pot luck lunch today at work with roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and your typical North American special occasion dinner items. I wanted to make sure there was at least one interesting vegetable sidedish so I opted to make honey glazed carrots but with a twist. Honey glazed carrots are just carrots cooked in butter, honey and usually a bit of fresh orange juice until they are softened and glazed. I added a few other elements for something more memorable. The glaze is infused with fresh ginger and garam masala, an Indian spice blend. I also found these astounding walnuts with dark red skin so I had to use those. I toasted some sesame seeds and picked some fresh thyme which completed the side dish. Not only was this decently healthy but was appropriately festive and the right amount of complexity. I'd be keen to try this again for any occasion.




See? What did I tell ya? Red!

For maximum texture and flavour  I took a couple of extra steps by roasting the walnuts and toasting the sesame seeds. If you decide to try this for your Christmas or any special meal, you may not have the extra equipment to do all that while cooking everything else. You can add the sesame seeds and walnuts raw but the few extra steps will be well worth it. You can do your toasting and roasting up to a day in advance anyway. To roast walnuts, spread them out on a dry baking sheet and bake them at 350F/175C for 8-10 minutes. You can leave them whole or break them in pieces, up to you. For the sesame seeds, add them to a warm, dry pan over medium-high and shake them in the pan for 60-90 seconds. They burn fast so keep an eye on them. Keep them moving constantly until you remove them from the pan to prevent burning.  


Ingredients

about 1 lb (7-8 large) carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup walnuts, roasted
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into eight even pieces
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 tsp Garam Masala
Fresh thyme
Salt
Pepper

Just a head's up, the quantities in this recipe are a bit less than the demonstration so don't worry if your amounts don't look quite the same.

Cut your carrots differently from your ginger so that they are easier to recognize and remove before serving. I cut the carrots into diagonal discs and left the ginger in cube shapes. All we want is the ginger flavour to go into the dish during cooking. They will be discarded after. I ended up with 8 cubes of ginger. The number of cubes isn't imperative but take note of how many you end up with so you know how many to remove at the end.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the honey. Add the pieces of ginger and stir. Let the honey and butter simmer and reduce for about five minutes.


  

Add the carrots and stir to coat evenly with the honey and butter. Let it cook for a minute or two. Season with salt and pepper.




Add the orange juice, stir and bring to a boil.





Once boiling, place a lid on the saucepan and turn down the heat. Allow to steam, covered, for about seven minutes. This will help give the carrots a head start with the cooking. Carrots are durable vegetables so they can take quite a bit of cooking. Everyone has their texture preference but I like them softened but still slightly crunchy. I don't recommend mushy, overcooked carrots. Cooking time is up to you.




Uncover and turn the heat back up to a gentle boil. This will finish cooking the carrots and reduce the liquid into a thin, sticky glaze. Add the garam masala during this stage and stir.

When the liquid has reduced, remove from the heat. Remove the ginger pieces. Now you can add the sesame seeds, walnuts and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.


 


Dump onto a serving platter or in a large bowl and garnish with orange zest and fresh thyme. Serve immediately alongside your holiday feast.

This was great. They smelled amazing, they were sweet, spicy in the exotic sense, different levels of crunchy while being sticky at the same time. A coworker of mine admitted that she doesn't like cooked carrots but really liked this side dish. The coolest thing about cooking for yourself is that you can have fun and be creative. This is another one of those recipes that's a guide that you can refer to while adding or substituting your own ideas. 

Whether this makes it to your table or not, I hope you enjoyed this post and that it opened your mind to new and creative ways to enjoy vegetables. 

Until next time,

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