Sunday, January 27, 2013

Honey Glazed Carrots

Carrots are one of the easiest vegetables to prepare. They are very tolerant of overcooking. Or undercooking - we eat lots of raw carrots in my house. You need to figure out how cooked you like your carrots - very crunchy, a little crunchy, tender, or even soft. All these points on the carrot cooking continuum are just fine.

Carrots are also cheap year round, making them an excellent go-to vegetable. They are pleasantly sweet, all by themselves, which makes them palatable to lots of folks. They aren't as challenging as, say, collard greens or even broccoli. But, still very nutritious.

This is a simplification of a classic French dish, carrots glazed with butter and sugar. Though butter is more expensive, it is mighty tasty. We use honey here, but you could substitute an equal amount of agave nectar. Even maple syrup, though that is pretty decadent. :-)

This isn't terribly sweet. There is just enough sugar to enhance the natural sweetness of the carrots. Really - this isn't dessert, it's a vegetable!

Honey Glazed Carrots
(serves 4-6, costs $1.00 made with butter, 85¢ if made with oil)

1 pound of carrots, sliced thinly or julienned or cut into sticks (see Note)
1 ½ Tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 ½ Tablespoons honey
about ½ teaspoon salt
chopped parsley (optional)

Fill a medium saucepan half full with water. Bring to a boil and add the carrots. Cook until they are done to your liking. For tender carrots, it takes 8-12 minutes depending on how thick they are sliced. Julienned carrots will take under 5 minutes. Drain the carrots and return to the saucepan over low heat. Add the butter, honey and salt. Toss to coat. The carrots are ready when the butter has all melted and carrots are all coated. Add chopped parsley for color, if you like.

Flat side down, to keep the carrot from rolling around
Note: Slicing or julienning carrots is great knife skills practice. If the carrot rolls around when you try to cut it, slice off a thin slice from one side of the carrot. That will prevent the carrot from rolling around as much. Julienning - cutting something into skinny sticks - is done by slicing the carrot the long way, stacking up the slices, and cutting the slices into thin sticks. It's easier to do if you cut the slices into 3-4" lengths before cutting into sticks.

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