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Easy Does It: Orange Crush

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Easy Does It: Orange Crush
Photo by Jonathan Boncek

Unsung and versatile, the carrot shines with simple techniques and a little spice

 

Pomegranate-Balsamic Glazed Carrots

Serves 2-4

In this Moroccan-inspired side, cool mint and Sriracha’s kick balance carrots’ natural sweetness.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer ¼ cup pomegranate juice until reduced by half. Add ¼ cup balsamic vinegar and ½ teaspoon salt and simmer until reduced again and thickened—the mixture should coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1 tablespoon Sriracha and 1 tablespoon butter. While the glaze thickens, in a separate large pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1 pound carrots sliced on an angle and stir to coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until carrots soften, about 15 minutes. In the last few minutes, pour glaze over carrots and stir to coat. Serve topped with 1 tablespoon chopped mint.

Roasted Spiced Carrots

Serves 2-4 

A quick roast at high heat renders the root vegetable beautifully caramelized with a concentrated carrot flavor. We’re fans of the za’atar and cumin combo, but herbes de provence works nicely here too.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place 1 pound medium carrots, scrubbed, in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon za’atar, and ¼ teaspoon cumin; season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat. Arrange carrots on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are tender and browned, turning once after 10 minutes. Finish carrots with a squeeze of fresh lemon; serve whole or cut on the diagonal into 2-inch-long pieces.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Serves 2-4

Sautéeing coaxes the earthy sweetness from carrots and coconut milk rounds the edges of ginger, garlic, and coriander for a velvety Thai-style soup that can be dinner in less than an hour.

In a soup pot or skillet with high sides, heat 1 tablespoon each of canola oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add 1 chopped medium onion and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent. Lower heat and add 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon grated ginger. Stir in ½ teaspoon freshly ground coriander seed and a pinch of cayenne. Cook until garlic begins to color, and then add 1 pound chopped carrots. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat until carrots start to brown. Add 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer until carrots are soft enough to mash against the side of the pot, about 30 minutes.

Remove soup from heat and puree. If using an immersion blender, puree soup in pot until smooth. Otherwise, cool soup and working in batches, transfer to a blender to puree until smooth. Return soup to pot and warm over medium heat, stirring in 1 cup coconut milk until incorporated. Taste and adjust for salt. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with ½ cup chopped cilantro and wedges of lime.