Sunday, April 29, 2012

Orange Spiced Carrots

Carrots and Oranges Simmering in Skillet
Cooking the Carrots & Making the Glaze

Recipe adapted from Carrot Cookbook

Carrots do so many things, culinarily speaking. They’re a natural for salads hot or cold, for stir-frying, in soups, simply braised, as vehicles for dips, and even in cakes and candies (carrot halvah recipe coming in May!). Carrots are a Seasonal Eating blogger’s dream veggie, available all year long, able to be stored in the fridge for days or weeks, brightly colored, versatile, and popular with people of all ages. This recipe comes from the Carrot Cookbook, compiled by Planned Parenthood in Santa Cruz in 1978, as a followup to their popular Zucchini Cookbook.

Basket of Carrots and Oranges with Spice Jars in Background
All Orange Produce
I’ve posted other favorite recipes for glazed carrots. This one is different because it includes oranges as seasonal fruits. Orange season is winding down rapidly, so I wanted to try one more orange-y recipe. This recipe calls for baby carrots, which are most readily available in spring. April is a good time to combine new carrots with the last of winter’s oranges. This recipe can be doubled.

A note about pre-packaged baby carrots: these are actually larger carrots that are cut down and peeled by machine and soaked in chlorine water or otherwise given an antibacterial treatment. According to, this doesn’t make them harmful to eat. However, the taste is bland and watery. Although these fabricated carrots can taste okay raw with strongly-flavored dips, I don’t recommend using them for this simple carrot-orange dish. They just don’t have the flavor. I’m thinking the chlorine tends to kill that.

I used 2 ½ Valencia oranges to make the juice. It’s good to have an extra orange on hand in case one of your juice oranges is dry, especially this late in the season. I used a navel orange for the sliced whole orange. Read more about  uses of various types of oranges here.

Skillet with Bubbling Glaze, Carrots, and Orange Slices
Glaze is Ready: Stir and Serve Carrots Now
The cinnamon-orange-brown sugar combination is classic, but I’m still thinking of ways to change it up (and I did reduce the butter, as usual). What would honey or agave be like? Could I reduce the amount of sweetener? How about using some fresh chopped mint from the garden sprinkled over the top instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg? Or perhaps replace the cinnamon and nutmeg with a few fresh rosemary leaves? How about fresh or powdered ginger as the spice? If the creative cooking urge strikes, try out your variations, and post a comment if they work out to your liking.

Plate of Orange Spiced Carrots
Bright and Sweet Side Dish
Orange Spiced Carrots
serves 2 – 3

1 bunch baby carrots (~10 oz.)
1 navel orange
1 tbsp. butter
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp. brown sugar
a few dashes of cinnamon
a few dashes of nutmeg

Peel navel orange and slice crosswise thinly, about 1/4" thick or less.

Melt butter in a skillet that will accommodate the carrots in one layer. Stir in orange juice and sugar. Cook 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.

Add carrots, and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat, stirring constantly and/or moving skillet back and forth rapidly so glaze coats all surfaces of the carrots.

Arrange orange slices on top of carrots and continue to cook and shake pan to distribute glaze evenly. Occasionally spoon glaze over oranges. Cook until glaze is thick, about 5 more minutes. Carrots will be crisp-tender.

A mint or parsley garnish would look great with these.

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