We needed a side to go with dinner, but the only vegetables in the crisper were carrots and eggplant. So carrots it is, but how to make them? We decided to go with a recipe that we found well over a year ago when we were looking through The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook, edited by Pam Hoenig. Naturally, the idea of this cookbook is to provide recipes that will get you to break out that cast iron pan (or even buy a new one).
Now, we don’t actually need a special reason to break out our cast iron pans, and, in fact, we thought that this particular recipe really didn’t need it. So, the cast iron pan stayed hanging on the wall, we pulled out an ordinary skillet, and everything turned out fine.
Oh, and we should say we changed the recipe just a bit by using brown sugar (which we had), instead of honey (of which we are out), and dried chervil instead of fresh flat-leaved parsley, for the same reason. Think of our carrots as being a variation of the original recipe.
What’s chervil, anyway? It’s a mild herb, similar to parsley, and, since it’s a garnish, use it or not. It adds to the dish, but not enough that the entire dish will be a disaster without it. For carrots, we use organic; they aren’t really any more expensive, so why not? The butter’s unsalted; no sense in adding salt you don’t need. Finally, dried cranberries always seem to have sugar along with them, but, in this case, it works.
Procedure in detail:
Toss carrots. You can peel the carrots if you like; we didn’t, we just cut them into sticks about 3 inches long and placed them right into a medium bowl. Then we sprinkled the salt over the top, followed by the drizzle of oil, and a good tossing to get the carrots coated well.
Cook carrots. Heat a skillet (yes, you can use cast iron, but a regular skillet will work, too), over medium heat for a few minutes until it’s hot. Toss in the carrots; they should sizzle. Let them cook for about 2 minutes, stirring only once or twice.
Add broth. Pour in the broth and add butter. We used some leftover mushroom broth, but any kind will work. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let the carrots cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
Glaze carrots. Once the carrots are tender, add the cranberries, brown sugar, and vinegar, and stir to combine. Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. In about 5 minutes, the liquids will cook down, leaving behind nicely-glazed carrots.
Serve. Plate immediately with a garnish of chervil.
It’s always nice to have a new way to make up a simple standard such as carrots, and these carrots would hold their own in a nice restaurant. They are simple to make up, and could probably be made even simpler by placing everything in a casserole dish and baking for 30 minutes; a good side for Thanksgiving, perhaps. Actually, now that we think about it, we might just have these on Thanksgiving day as a side.
While we’ve had glazed carrots many times, adding the vinegar gives these carrots a slight sweet and sour taste that pairs nicely with the cranberries, making the dish taste a bit more upscale. These carrots were one of our favorite parts of last Sunday’s dinner, so five stars.