Armed with this book, I have no desire to break my resolution again. At least for now. And maybe not even after I've sampled the surprisingly tempting sounding Carrot Margarita....
P.S. Sorry for the Instagram/iPhone photos, but life these days keeps me on campus from 10:30-5 and the sun disappears much too quickly for my liking.
Butter-Braised Baby Carrots
slightly adapted from Diane Morgan's Roots
yields about 4 side servings of carrots
The original recipe called for sherry vinegar, but I decided to go with honey cider vinegar instead, wanting to play up the sweetness of the carrots. I also added more than the required 1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill because, well, I always get a little heavy handed when it comes to fresh herbs. There is also my current obsession with Grains of Paradise (doesn't the name tell us everything we need to know?), which I've been putting on everything; I had searched for these for such a long time and, thanks to Frontier Co-Op and Whole Foods, I finally found them. Needless to say, I'm not squandering my discovery; I'll also say that I think these carrots--and everything else I've put them on recently--have been all the better for it.
In terms of method, I braised according to Diane's instructions. I will say, however, that I decided to cook my carrots for a little longer than the suggested 15 minutes. When I tasted them, they didn't seem tender enough. It may be that my carrots were a bit chubbier than true baby carrots; in any case, you want these to be tender, so adjust the cooking time to your carrots and conditions. And, even with an additional 10-12 minutes at a very low heat, the carrots still maintained their bite without being at all limp.
For variation, I think these would work beautifully with fresh tarragon; I think the bitterness of the tarragon would complement the natural sweetness of the carrots. I also think you could go the spicy route and add cumin, too. Really, with a recipe as classic as this, consider carrots a blank canvas eagerly awaiting whatever changes you might desire.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bunch baby carrots, green tops removed (you can leave a little on for a nice contrast in color)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon honey cider vinegar
1 heaping teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground exotic peppercorn blend
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
-Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, gently rocking the pan so that the butter coats it evenly.
-Add the carrots and stir, making sure to coat the carrots with the melted butter.
-Add the stock, vinegar, sugar, salt and peppercorn blend and bring to a simmer.
-Reduce the heat and cover. Braise until the carrots are tender, yet still crisp, about 10-12 minutes.
-Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium, stirring frequently until the sauce begins to thicken and the carrots soften, about 10 more minutes.
-Place the lid on the skillet and braise the carrots at a very low heat for an additional 3-5 minutes.
-Remove from heat and and taste; adjust the seasoning (I found that another round of the peppercorn blend and a few dashes of salt were in order).
-Carefully arrange the dill on top of the carrots and serve immediately.