Elevate your carrots into this luscious plate of sweet, cider-glazed jewels - a stunning side dish. Bugs Bunny would approve. (Skip to recipe.)
Carrots are a humble vegetable - the unnoticed wallflowers of the veggie world. Every garden grows them. Every market carries them. They're only one step above lowly potatoes in the 'Glamorous Veggie' hierarchy. Even if your kids eat no other vegetables, odds are they'll happily crunch on carrot sticks. That's why carrots are often overlooked; relegated to hold down the veggie platter, but not considered fancy enough to warrant more than being sliced and boiled.
I say, bring 'em to the front of the line, dress 'em up in some fancy duds and bedeck 'em with jewels. Let their inner diva out. Bring those glowing root vegetables to the party and watch them dazzle the crowd.
Start with a big bunch of regular ol' orange carrots, or find yourself a few fistfuls of richly coloured heirloom carrots. Our rainbow carrots thrived in the garden this year. We harvested a wheelbarrow full of multicoloured roots, from white to deep purple. They are such fun to use, and each colour boasts a subtly different flavour profile.
And when they're roasted and dressed with a a shiny, sweet and tangy apple cider glaze, they become a fantastic side dish.
Press yourself a jug of fresh apple cider, like we did last week, buy some at the store, or juice up a few apples in your electric juicer. Or even just use unsweetened apple juice.
While the carrots are roasting and caramelizing to sweet intensity, let the cider simmer until it becomes thick and syrupy. Then drizzle it over those roasted carrots and watch them glow.
They look nothing like a plate of carrot sticks, do they?
I'm sure they'll convert the carrot-indifferent in your crowd. Or for another fancy carrot feast, try this Coconut and Carrot Puree with a crunchy seed topping.
I think Bugs Bunny would go for a dish of either of these if he was offered them, don't you?
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Kitchen Frau Notes: Regular orange carrots work just as well for this recipe. I just happen to have a good supply of the multi-coloured ones this year. You can use up to 2 lbs (900gms) of carrots with this amount of cider. Reduce it to about 2½ tablespoons, then.
Make sure to use regular fresh apple cider (not hard cider, which contains alcohol) or unsweetened apple juice. Watch it carefully as it nears the end of its reducing time, so it doesn't burn.
Sweet Apple Cider Glazed Carrots
- 1½ lbs (700) carrots
- 1 tablespoon oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups apple cider (non-alcoholic) or unsweetened apple juice
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Wash, scrub, and trim the carrots. Cut them into sticks about 3 inches (7cm) long. Put them onto a baking sheet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat all the carrot sticks.
Roast for about 25 minutes, tossing them a couple times during the roasting, until they are soft and starting to caramelize at the edges.
While the carrots are roasting, pour the apple cider into a saucepan and heat to boiling. Turn the heat down to medium high and let the cider boil until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Turn down the heat and watch it carefully as it approaches the 2 tablespoon mark, as it will start to get thick and caramelize. You don't want to get it too brown or burn - just nicely golden and syrupy. This should take about 20 minutes, but it will depend on the surface area of your liquid and how hot your burner is. There's no need to measure the syrup - just eyeball it. Anywhere between 2 and 3 tablespoons of apple cider syrup will be enough to coat the carrots.
Drizzle the syrup over the carrots, toss to coat, and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
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