The carrots from Gemini Farm store for a long time so I typically put them in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin and don’t worry about them. After a few weeks, the bin is nearly filled with carrots! Then, I go looking for more recipes. I feel the Gemini carrots are best when cooked. It brings out their sweetness and they are firm enough to remain at a good texture in soups and stewed dishes.
I have been making a lot of vegetable soups with carrots, celery and onions as a base. Soups are also easy to freeze. Great way to store your vegetables and have a quick, healthy meal on a future winter night. Over the holidays I was asked to prepare a vegetable side dish at a pot luck. The other items included a ham, baked sweet potatoes, steamed brocoli and an avocado, sprout & lettuce salad. Carrots seemed like the best choice for this homey meal with my neighbors. And…I had a bunch in my fridge. Recipes for side dishes are typically for 6 people and I normally cook for 2 so this was a good opportunity to test a recipe. I also love to have feedback and thought that my neighbors would be very honest about the dish.
A great cookbook for just about every type of food is Gourmet Today edited by Ruth Reichl. She adds interesting personal tips about cooking for her family and collected some of the best recipes printed in Gourmet magazine. The vegetable section offers more unique spices and cooking methods. Here is an adaptation of a glazed carrot recipe where I took “chile” as an ingredient to mean “red chile” and made the flavor New Mexico spicy.
Red Chile Carrots
Adapted from Gourmet Today
2 tblsps butter
1/4 cup shallots, sliced thin
1 to 2 tsps red chile powder (I added 2 for the spice)
1/4 tsp kosher salt (will punch the flavor without the salty flavor)
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1.5 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into diagonal slices
3/4 cup dry white wine (you could also use a red wine like chianti)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsps cider vinegar (optional if you want to reduce to a glaze)
Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy bottom pan. The pan will help keep the heat continuous without burning your shallots. Heat the butter until the foam subsides. This is a great tip from the cookbook and is a visual indicator that is helpful in the cooking process. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes. Watch them closely so that they don’t burn. Add the chile, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add carrots, wine and maple syrup. Stir and bring to a simmer. The liquid will not cover the carrots, but they will steam if you add a cover with a little crack to release the steam. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the carrots are as tender as you like them. I actually ate the carrots at this stage because I took the 20 minutes cooking time from the recipe and wanted to bring my dish to the pot luck hot and ready to serve. Unfortunately, the carrots were not quite ready and needed 10 more minutes to be past the crisp line and be more tender. They tasted great and the neighbors all gave positive comments. The only feedback was on the dill, which was an original ingredient in the cookbook. The dill and red chile did not meld as well as chili powder and dill mix. I have removed it from this version. I kept the leftovers in my refrigerator for 4 days.
If you want a glazed carrot, add the cider vinegar and a little more maple syrup and boil for 5 to 10 minutes until it is thickened like a glaze.