My culinary life to this point has been a sham.
My palate existed in a vast wasteland of ignorance that knew no end.
Until, well, until said wasteland abruptly ended - with the arrival of two simultaneous bounties:
1) heirloom carrots
2) braising of said heirloom carrots
Up until last night my experience with carrots could be summed up thusly: orange carrots steamed, orange carrots roasted, orange carrots buttered, orange carrots raw. To be followed with a round of orange carrots steamed, roasted, buttered, raw...and then, well, you get the picture.
This left me feeling pretty apathetic about carrots in general.
Of course I was not oblivious to the whole heirloom veggie movement, I just hadn't had the opportunity to get my greedy little hands on any beautifully coloured heirloomy goodness of the carrot variety.
And then last week there they were. Erin, of Karma Marketplace, had bunches of locally grown purple and golden carrots. I still wasn't convinced that I even liked carrots all that much but the physical beauty of the carrots alone is way too much for my superficial self to resist. So, home with me they came.
As pretty as they are on the outside, it just gets better when you cut into them.
I bit into a purple carrot first, expecting...well...not much really.
Total shock - purple carrots are heavily sweet with an amazing carroty aroma.
Golden carrot next.
Surprise again - a medium sweetness and again just a sense of carrot-ness that is so often absent from supermarket varieties.
Good lord! Where have these carrots been all my life?
I couldn't decide for a few days how I wanted to cook the carrots. They were so damn pretty that I didn't want to do anything other than peel and slice in half. I also really wanted to enjoy the different flavours so I didn't want to bury them in other ingredients or a larger dish.
A quick glimpse through my Joy of Cooking, the go-to when I'm looking to go back to basics with an ingredient, and I decided to braise my veggies.
And here we arrive at my second revelation.
Holy crap, braising is the greatest thing ever!!!!!
The sweet carrots release their sugars into the braising liquid and the whole dish becomes infused with the essence of carrot.
I am so in love with braising (and with carrots) that I'm doing the rest of them tonight.
1 1/2 pounds carrots
1 cup stock or water or both
3 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
Peel and halve carrots.
Lay them in a large saute pan in a single layer.
Add stock, butter, sugar, salt.
Heat to a simmer.
Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for approx. 20 minutes or until all braising liquid is absorbed.