The Thanksgiving buzz has begun! It starts when cooking magazines arrive at my house with photos of gleaming turkeys and perfectly plated sides. For the years that I hosted the Thanksgiving feast, my preparations typically started in October. I would start with making and freezing turkey stock, baking breads and making ice cream. I would usually assign the side dishes to willing family members. Although this year will be a very small gathering, this brandy and butter glaze adds a festive touch to this carrot dish, as well as sweetness without adding sugar.
The first step is blanching or cooking the carrots quickly in a large amount of boiling water. The second step is stopping the cooking, or shocking the carrots by putting them in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes. This softens the carrots and eliminates the raw flavor, but maintains the orange color and nutrients. This step can be completed ahead of time and the carrots can be re-heated with the glaze when ready to serve.
- 2 pounds carrots washed, peeled and cut into chunks on the diagonal
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice the juice of one large orange
- Kosher or sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs such as parsley thyme or carrot greens for garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and add the cut carrots to the boiling water. Return the water to a boil and cook the carrots for about 3-5 minutes. While the carrots are blanching, fill a bowl with ice cubes and cold water. Drain the carrots and place in the bowl of ice water to shock them and stop the cooking. Transfer the carrots to a baking dish.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the brandy and orange juice. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce for about 2-3 minutes, stirring and letting the flavors come together. Pour the sauce over the carrots and season with salt and pepper. Bake the carrots in the brandy butter sauce until they’re bubbling, about 10-15 minutes. If you’re short on oven space, you can sauté the carrots with the brandy butter sauce on the stove top. Garnish with the fresh chopped herbs.