Carrots are root vegetables that were first grown in Afghanistan around 900 AD. Orange may be their best-known color, but they also come in other colors, including purple, yellow, red, and white. Early varieties were purple or yellow. Orange varieties were developed in Central Europe around the 15th or 16th century.
This popular and versatile veggie may taste slightly different depending on the color, size, and where it’s grown. The sugar in them gives them a slightly sweet flavor, but they also can taste earthy or bitter.
They are a great source of important vitamins and minerals. A half-cup can give you up to:
- 73% of your daily requirement of vitamin A
- 9% of your daily vitamin K
- 8% of your daily potassium and fiber
- 5% of your daily vitamin C
- 2% of your daily calcium and iron
Carrots have a wealth of antioxidants and offer many health benefits.
- They’re rich in beta-carotene, a compound your body changes into vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy.
- Yellow varieties have lutein, which is also good for your eyes. Studies have found that it can help with or prevent age-related macular degeneration.
- All those antioxidants are also good for your heart.
- The potassium in carrots can help keep your blood pressure in check.
- They have fiber, which can help you stay at a healthy weight.
- The vitamin C in carrots helps your body build antibodies that defend your immune system.
Sweet Bourbon Roasted Carrots
Next time you want to sever carrots take your roasted carrots up a culinary notch with this flavor-packed recipe from Jeff Mattia, chef/partner of Pyre Provisions in Covington, Louisiana.
For the carrots:
- 3 bunches of baby carrots, trimmed of stems and cut in ½ lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
- 6 tablespoons bourbon simple syrup
- 3 each cubes of cold butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the bourbon simple syrup:
- 1 cup Buffalo Trace Bourbon or any good bourbon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Make the bourbon simple syrup: In a sauce pot, add the bourbon. Light on fire with a lighter and allow the alcohol to burn off, about 5-8 minutes. Add the water and sugar, bring to a boil and reduce by ½ or until a honey consistency. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
- In a large cast iron pan (you can use a large skillet, if cast iron is not available), add your oil to the pan, bring to temperature over a medium heat.
- Add the carrots and sear lightly, caramelizing them in the pan. This will take about 5 minutes.
- With a spatula, remove the carrots and discard the oil.
- Return the carrots to the pan and add the simple syrup and allow it to glaze the carrots, add the butter and turn off the heat, stir the butter in until it is incorporated, about 2-3 minutes or until the butter is melted and evenly distributed. Add the chopped tarragon.
- Serve on your favorite plate and spoon the sauce over the carrots.
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