The Kitchn: This updated take on candied carrots will steal the show at your holiday dinner
Published in Variety Menu
Candied carrots are a slightly elevated version of your standard steamed carrot side. In layman’s terms: It’s carrots cooked in syrup! Carrots are partially cooked and simmered in water and butter, then removed to boil the cooking liquid with more butter and brown sugar into a delicious, syrupy glaze.
In this recipe, the carrots are infused with bay leaves, ground ginger, and a touch of cinnamon. These three flavors marry together perfectly and bring an additional layer of flavor and warmth, making this dish a perfect accompaniment for the holidays. As this dish is only mildly spiced, it’s still versatile and can be eaten all year round, pairing well with most entrees.
However, if you’d prefer to keep the carrots in a simple butter and sugar glaze, just omit the ginger and cinnamon and season with freshly ground black pepper instead. The syrupy coating enhances the sweetness of the carrots and creates a stunning bejeweled sheen.
Can you make glazed carrots in advance?
This dish is relatively quick to make, making it a wonderful midweek side option. But what makes it especially great for the holidays is that you can make it the day before, which means you have one fewer thing to think about the day of your big feast. If you make it ahead, cook the carrots slightly under by a couple of minutes in both steps. Otherwise, the carrots may soften too much when reheating.
When ready to serve the carrots, either reheat in the microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on high in a covered dish, stirring halfway, or on the stovetop in a skillet over medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can loosen the glaze with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water, if needed.
2 pounds carrots
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 leafy carrot top, or 2 large sprigs fresh parsley (optional)
1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Peel 2 pounds carrots and cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Place in a large high-sided skillet. Add 3/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter, 2 bay leaves, and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the butter melts, about 3 minutes.
2. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, until the carrots start to soften at the edges, 5 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop 1 leafy carrot top or the leaves from 2 large fresh parsley sprigs until you have 1 tablespoon if using.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a plate. Add remaining the remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the pan. Stir to combine, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cook until thick and syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Return the carrots to the skillet and toss to coat. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Garnish with the carrot tops or parsley if using.
Recipe notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days.
(Tara Holland is a contributor to TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to email@example.com.)
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