Thursday, May 20, 2010
How sad is it when a grown woman gets excited about a bowl of carrots? Very, very sad! I am a very, very sad case, because these carrots made me very excited.
A number of years ago we had a fantastic meal at the Farmgate Cafe in Midleton, Co. Cork, everything we ate was wonderful but the highlight for me was a fabulous dish of sweet, savoury, buttery but not oily carrots. I have tried many times to replicate the taste, I used cumin, orange juice, honey but couldn't get them just right.
Roll on to another acquisition for my groaning cook book shelves - Heston Blumenthal's "Family Food" and his recipe for Carrots Glazed with Cumin and Orange, and a "eureka" moment, perfect delicious carrots.
Firstly Heston says that orange juice shouldn't be used when cooking carrots as the acid interferes with the cooking process (I love learning new stuff!!), and that orange zest gives the flavour while retaining the correct texture. He also uses cardamom in this recipe - I hadn't thought of cardamom, what a great idea, it works beautifully.
I have (of course!!) simplified the recipe, and this is what I did. Please give them a go, they are so much better than a bowl of steamed carrots with a knob of butter on top. Another plus point for them is the fact that there is relatively little fat used in the recipe but they taste really buttery and indulgent.
Carrots Glazed with Cumin and Orange
750g peeled carrots (I think organic are worth the extra money)
1 clove garlic
2 tsp cumin
2 or 3 cardamom pods
8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp caster sugar
zest from 1 orange, in large pieces (remove carefully with a potato peeler, with as little of the white pith as possible)
salt and black pepper
Slice the carrots into 1cm (1/2 inch) rounds - they look better sliced diagonally.
Heat your pot without any oil and when hot add the cumin and cardamom seeds (which you have removed from the pods), toast them for a minute or two until they release a beautiful smell.
Add the oil, butter, garlic (I grate it in, you could crush it), thyme and the carrots.
Turn the heat down to medium and sweat the carrots for 5 minutes.
Add the sugar and about 1 tbsp of water and the orange zest.
Cover with a lid and cook until tender - keep an eye on them and add a little more water if necessary.
When cooked remove the lid and reduce any liquid if necessary.
Season and serve.
These carrots reheat beautifully.
P.S. Once again please excuse the photo, a few servings were grabbed before I could manage to capture it!!!