This is an easy and useful recipe to make carrots into something that you can serve as part of a fancy menu or just have on hand for quick meals and snacks. They require very little effort, but a lot of cooking time.
I recently made these confit carrots for the Garden of Alchemy Dinner as part of a 5 course menu for 12 guests. Each of the first four courses represented an elemental theme. These carrots played the role of tree stumps in the edible forest floor for the Earth course. They were served with a kasha and porcini salad (rocky soil), horseradish beets (buried geodes), sprigs of tarragon (new growth), parsley oil (moss), pickled mushrooms and ground walnuts and spices (fine soil). For the the complete menu and photos of that event visit this post.
I ate the leftovers confit carrots with soft, tart goat cheese on gluten-free sourdough bread, but I failed to take photos. They just want to be paired with something a bit tart, like pickles or goat cheese, and something starchy to catch the oil, like kasha or bread. They would also be good with an arugula salad and a squeeze of lemon and would make a nice side for roasted meat. I meant to post the recipe in advance of Thanksgiving, but I did not have time until today. We are laying low for Thanksgiving this year to spend time with our ailing cat, Arrow, who really hates it when we have guests over. It was actually really nice to just have a calm day off.
This recipe requires a perfectly astonishing amount of good quality olive oil. However the oil can be reused afterward and will be deliciously infused with herbs, garlic and a bit of sweet carrot caramel. The carrots can be refridgerated for weeks in the oil, in a tightly sealed container. I used a large mason jar. You can use this technique with other root vegetables as well. I tried it with yams and parsnips when I was testing recipes for The Garden of Alchemy Dinner. The carrots were, by far, the most delicious though.
- Whole carrots of a uniform size, scrubbed (multicolor carrots are pretty)
- salt and pepper
- Lots of high quality extra virgin olive oil (I use California Farms)
- Aromatics of your choice (I used unpeeled garlic, arbol chilis, anise, rosemary and thyme)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the carrots in a deep oven proof dish. The deeper the dish the better, so that you can submerge the carrots totally in oil. Season them with a salt and pepper.
- Pour enough oil in the dish to totally cover the carrots, add the aromatics and bake for about 90 minutes. I started checking mine at 60 minutes, but it really took the full hour and half for them to caramelize and become totally soft.
- You can serve them right away or make them in advance. Gently reheat in a warm oven before serving. I like them with soft goat cheese and sourdough bread or with a squeeze of lemon on an arugula salad.