I have a sentimental attachment to this dish, which just might hold the distinction of being my first signature dish. You know, the kind of dish that people say things like this about: "When are you making those carrots again?" When it's carnivorous types asking, well. You're in signature dish territory. For a long while, it was pretty much my only "me" dish, one I'd futzed with enough to call my own (based on a recipe and suggestions Deborah Madison), internalized, mastered. If that sounds like a tall order for the lowly carrot, well, that's how good simple, fresh cooking can be.
These carrots make a wonderful side dish for meat mains like roasted chicken or pan-grilled steak, and are also great as an element in a warming grain bowl along with greens and beans.
You'll want to slice the carrots into relatively thin rounds for this dish, which allows them to soften up as they braise. The other key technique in this recipe is to bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for a relatively long time, until most but not all of the liquid has been absorbed. That's when you'll uncover it, raise the heat again, and cook down the liquid till it's a bit syrupy and almost gone.
Making a dairy or parve (vegan) version of the carrots
I've made a dairy version of these braised carrots a few times, using butter and vegetable stock. I've also tried omitting the Earth Balance and using just olive oil for the meat version. I'd say the most flavorful one is this: using both olive oil and margarine, and chicken stock. However, you can easily make it as a dairy dish or as a parve/vegan dish.
Honeyed Braised Carrots with Fresh Dill (meat)
- 8 medium carrots
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp margarine - I use Earth Balance
- 2 tsp honey
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh dill - chopped
- salt and pepper
- Trim and peel the carrots. Slice them into thin rounds.
- In a large skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil and margarine over a medium flame. When the margarine has melted, add the carrots to the skillet and toss to coat.
- Drizzle the honey over the carrots, then season well with salt and pepper.
- Cover the carrots with chicken stock (it should reach just to the top of the layer of carrots; if needed, add less or more).
- Bring the stock to a boil. When it boils, turn down the heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook at a simmer until the carrots are softened and the liquid has mostly been absorbed, 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the lid and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the chopped fresh dill. Watching carefully and stirring often, cook the carrots until the stock reduces to a syrupy consistency and is almost completely absorbed.