Gingery Glazed Carrots Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • Adding a tiny amount of cornstarch to the liquid helps keep the emulsion of fat and water stable by creating viscosity and physically impeding fat and water molecules from bunching up together.
  • Incorporate the cornstarch by forming a small amount of slurry with a bit of cold water, then dump it into your pan a minute or two before it reaches a glaze consistency.

On paper, glazing vegetables seems very simple. Combine some cooked root vegetables with a bit of butter and liquid (water or stock are the most common) in a skillet with a bit of seasoning (salt and sugar, usually) then cook it until the fat from the butter and the liquid emulsifies into a thick, saucy glaze that coats the vegetable with a beautiful, flavorful sheen.

If you want to be extra cool,you can start with way more liquid than you need, timing it so that by the time the liquid mostly evaporates and thickens into a sauce, the vegetables are perfectly cooked through.

And I want to talk to you about glazed carrots, I really do, but first you'll have to come with me while I spout off a bit on ranges.

You hear this a lot:Cooking in restaurants is a completely different beast from cooking at home.And it's true. Restaurant cooking is about production and efficiency and yadda yadda yadda. But there are other key differences, namely equipment. See, home burners have an output of around 7,000 to 8,000 BTUs* per hour. That's roughly enough energy to bring four gallons of water to a rolling boil from room temperature over the course of an hour.

*British Thermal Unitsare a measure of energy. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water from 39°F to 40°F. You'll often see BTUs per hour (units ofpower) abbreviated as simply BTUs (units ofenergy) when talking about stovetops.

A restaurant range, on the other hand, puts out a whopping 30,000 BTUs and up.

The immediate implications of this are obvious to anyone. Your pasta water is going to boil faster. Your lobster pot will stay at a rolling boil even when you dump a dozen live ones in there. Your pans will preheat faster. Your meats are going to sear harder. You get the picture.

But there areother, less obvious effects of a powerful burnerand how they make restaurant food a little different from home-cooked food. Glazing is prime example #1.

Gingery Glazed Carrots Recipe (1)

So how does having a powerful burner help this process along? Well, emulsions—the hom*ogeneous suspension of one medium inside another that it normally doesn't mix with (in this case, butterfat suspended in water)—need plenty of mechanical stirring to form. With a mayonnaise or vinaigrette, a whisk or blender provides this action, breaking fat and water up into microscopic droplets. In espresso, the violent pressure of steam pushing through coffee grounds agitates oils and emulsifies them into the water, forming the richcremathat floats on top.

With glazed vegetables, this mechanical action comes from two sources: the cook's shaking and stirring the pan as it cooks (not very effective), and the bubbling of the liquid as it boils.

Beginning to see the picture now?

On a restaurant range, the boiling is crazy fast and violent. Semi-stable emulsions form rapidly and easily with very minimal effort on the part of the cook. At home, on the other hand, most burners simply aren't powerful enough to provide the requisite violence in the liquid—particularly not when you're preparing a Thanksgiving side dish-sized serving.

Rather than a beautifully, glazey sauce, you end up with a greasy, broken one. Still tasty, sure, but not nearly as appealing.

Gingery Glazed Carrots Recipe (2)

So what's the solution? Well, to solve this problem I took a little cue from some common fondue recipes in which a tiny amount of a thickener is added to the liquid in order to help keep the emulsion of fat and water stable. See, thickeners like starches and gums perform two roles.

First, they add viscosity to the water, making it flow more slowly. Water that flows more slowly will coalesce from tiny droplets into larger ones more slowly, and thus form emulsions that last longer (sugar will also perform this same function, to a degree). Secondly, starch molecules can physically impede both fat molecules and water molecules from bunching up together.

So the key to a really easy, foolproof glaze without a powerful burner?Just add a tiny bit of thickener.

In my own kitchen, I use a touch of xanthan gum, because it's flavorless, dissolves into a completely transparent, glossy glaze, and is quite potent. A tiny bit goes a long way—a mere 1/4 teaspoon is more than adequate for a full eight servings of carrots or other glazed root vegetables.

Don't have xanthan gum lying around? Don't worry,even corn starch will do just fine. The easiest way to incorporate it is to form a small amount of slurry with a bit of cold water, then dump it into your pan a minute or two before it reaches a glaze consistency. You'll see your sauce come together in no time.

Of course, glazed vegetables are a perfect opportunity to add some other flavors to the mix. When I do carrots, I like to add a bit of sliced ginger, some fresh thyme sprigs, and perhaps an orange rind or two to the mix.

November 2011

Recipe Details

Gingery Glazed Carrots Recipe

Active15 mins

Total30 mins

Serves8to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch disks on the bias, or faux tourné (see methodhere)

  • One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into julienne (see methodhere)

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Combine carrots, ginger, thyme, chicken broth, butter, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds black pepper in a 12-inch straight-sided sautée pan or Dutch oven and place over high heat. When liquid boils, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are almost completely tender (carrots should give very little resistance when poked with a cake tester or knife), about 10 minutes. If liquid drops to below 1/2-inch during cooking, top up with a cup of hot water.

    Gingery Glazed Carrots Recipe (3)

  2. Remove lid and continue cooking carrots at a rapid boil. Combine cornstarch with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and stir with a fork until hom*ogenous. Pour cornstarch mixture into carrots and stir to combine. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced to a syrupy glaze. Pick out thyme sprigs and discard. Off heat, add lemon juice and stir to combine. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and serve.

    Gingery Glazed Carrots Recipe (4)

Notes

Feel free to vary the flavorings as desired. Omit ginger and thyme and replace with other herbs or spices (orange zest works well, as does star anise, fennel, chiles, etc.).

For tips on how to cut carrots, check out our Knife Skills: Carrots, and for ginger, our Knife Skills: Ginger guides.

If carrots sit in the pan for too long after cooking, there's a chance the liquid will over-reduce and thicken or break. If this occurs, add a few tablespoons of hot water and stir to combine. The sauce should come back together to the right consistency.

Read More

  • How to Cut Carrots
  • How to Prepare and Store Ginger
Gingery Glazed Carrots Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What are glazed carrots made of? ›

This is a super quick and easy recipe. Just toss the carrots in brown sugar (or honey or maple syrup), butter and oil with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Then just roast for 25 minutes in a hot oven (220C/425F) until the carrots are caramelised on the edges.

How do you get the most flavor out of carrots? ›

Carrots are naturally sweet, cutting them doesn't affect the flavor. If you want them even sweeter, roasting is a good option. Toss them with some oil, and something sweet- maple syrup, orange juice or even a little honey.

How to make Gordon Ramsay carrots? ›

Cooking instructions

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, then add the carrots and parsnips and toss to coat in the oil. Add the thyme, cinnamon, star anise and some seasoning. Cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning the vegetables frequently, until golden brown and almost cooked through.

How do you cook Delia Smith carrots? ›

Place them in a steamer, sprinkle with a little salt and steam for about 7 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a skewer but still retaining some firmness and bite. Serve plain, or I like them tossed in butter mixed with some chopped fresh tarragon leaves.

What goes well with glazed carrots? ›

Perfect alongside a roast, honey-roasted carrots are also delicious in a salad, served with fish or paired with a salty cheese such as haloumi or goat's cheese.

What makes carrots taste better? ›

If you're roasting your carrots, toss them in olive oil first. This will help keep the moisture in them. To bring out the sweetness in your carrots, season them with orange or lemon juice or a little brown sugar and butter. You can also add cardamom to make carrot deserts, like Indian carrot halwa.

What are the most flavorful carrots? ›

Favorite Flavorful Carrot Varieties
  • 'Danvers' 'Purple Haze' In case you hadn't guessed, this hybrid carrot develops a purple exterior. ...
  • 'Purple Haze' 'Cosmic Purple' ...
  • 'Cosmic Purple' 'Dragon' ...
  • 'Dragon' 'Scarlet Nantes' ...
  • 'Scarlet Nantes' 'Paris Market'

Why do my carrots taste bad? ›

However, when terpenoids reach excessive amounts and are no longer balanced with sugar, they give these root vegetables that unpleasant soapy taste. It goes away once you cook the carrots, though, since the heat breaks down these compounds.

Should you boil carrots before roasting? ›

There is, however, a trick to getting roasted carrots right. Undercook them, and the texture is tough and dense. Overcook them, and they're dry and wrinkled. The secret is to soften the carrots slightly by boiling them briefly before roasting.

What not to mix carrots with? ›

For the same reason, one shouldn't mix orange with carrot as when taken together, they may cause heartburn and excess bile reflux. Only a few fruits are starchy in nature. These include green bananas and plantains.

Is it better to steam or bake carrots? ›

No matter which way you cook them, carrots are a healthy choice. Steaming is a slightly better pick since the carrots don't lose as many of their nutrients to the water. (Steaming is also more environmentally friendly since it uses less water.)

Do you put carrots in boiling water or cold water? ›

Third, don't overfill the pot. Water takes a long time to heat because of its high heat capacity. You'll save time and money by using just enough water. Note: It's recommended that you add root vegetables to cold water, but wait for a boil with others.

What is the most nutritious way to cook carrots? ›

The healthiest way to cook carrots is by steaming or baking them. Steaming carrots helps retain most of their nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber, while also preserving their natural flavor and color.

What makes cooked carrots sweet? ›

Honey, butter, and brown sugar make these sweet baby carrots irresistible! It may not be the most nutritious recipe, but the carrots turn out so yummy, you won't care!

What is vegetable glaze made from? ›

Add your vegetables to a pan and fill it halfway up the sides of the vegetables with water. Or, for more flavor, try using broth, orange juice or wine in place of water. Add a touch of butter and sugar with a pinch of salt. The sugar and butter add shine to the glaze.

What are the main ingredients in carrots? ›

Raw carrots are 88% water, 9% carbohydrates, 0.9% protein, 2.8% dietary fiber, 1% ash and 0.2% fat. Carrot dietary fiber comprises mostly cellulose, with smaller proportions of hemicellulose, lignin and starch. Free sugars in carrot include sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

What were carrots made from? ›

It was derived from the wild carrot, which has whitish/ivory coloured roots. The most popular, orange rooted carrot, is derived from yellow rooted domestic varieties. Early writings in classical Greek and Roman times refer to edible white roots, but these may have also been parsnips, or both.

Can you buy glazed carrots? ›

Fits your lifestyle and your freezer.™ Green Giant® Simply Steam™ vegetables are not only delicious, they come in freezer-friendly, easy-to-stack boxes, with a microwavable pouch inside. Great for a meal, side dish or snack—anytime.

References

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