We eat a lot of carrots this time of year. Actually, we eat a lot of carrots all year long. During the warm months, it's often in the form of carottes râpées — grated or shredded carrots, raw, dressed with home-made vinaigrette (recipe here). And of course there's glazed carrots as a warm side dish. Or carottes à la crème.
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The other day I wondered if one of my Mexican cookbooks would have any carrot recipes. I had just bought a two-kilo bag of carrots from the Charentes region, just south of the Loire Valley and the Poitou. And I was making those chipotle meatballs. How could I cook carrots to go with those?
Pickled homegrown jalapeños
Here's what I found: Caramelized Onions, Carrots, and Jalapeños. Thanks again to Rick Bayless and Mexican Everyday. It's the only recipe in this book — or the other book of his that I have, Mexico One Plate at a Time — that uses carrots, and it's a good one.
Here are the ingredients: two small onions, four carrots, three pickled jalapeño peppers, some oregano, a quarter-cup of vinegar, and a cup of chicken broth. Plus some oil or butter to cook the onions and carrots in. We grew jalapeño peppers last year and put them up in jars in vinegar, so we have a good supply.
The carrots as they cooked...
Slice the onions into rings and slice the carrots into one-quarter inch disks. Heat the oil or butter in a pan and cook the onions and carrots together on fairly high heat so that the onions start to caramelize or turn brown. Don't burn them, but let them take on some color, along with the carrots.
Meanwhile, slice the three jalapeños into rings. De-seed them if you want to (I didn't). Add them and the oregano to the pan with the onions and carrots. Pour in the vinegar (cider vinegar is what I used) and the chicken broth, cover the pan, and let the vegetables and peppers cook together until the carrots are tender (half an hour or more).
...and ready to serve.
These carrots were delicious with the chipotle meatballs. The nearly burned onions, the vinegar, and the hot peppers balance out the sweetness of the carrots. The next day, I added the leftover carrots to a dish of leftover lentils we had cooked a couple of days earlier. That was a good combination too. The highly seasoned onions and carrots would be good added to any fairly bland cooked beans.
We are still having gray, foggy, misty weather here in Saint-Aignan. It's not cold however. Tomorrow we are promised some sunshine. That will be nice, in November. There are dahlia tubers to dig up, aubergine plants to pull out (I'm hoping to harvest a few small eggplants), and of course apples to pick up. All this good spicy food has fortified me...