(for step-by-step instructions on how to glaze carrots, check out the post below, or take a look at our simple glazed carrots recipe on Cookthink.com)
I learned how to glaze carrots on a ski trip to Utah I took with a girlfriend and her family. A week before the trip, I broke my hand during a Christmas party fistfight with my cousin (long story), so I wasn’t able to do much skiing. I tried to make up for it by being useful, helping out with meals where I could.
My then-girlfriend’s mother loved to cook and talk about cooking. She walked me through the simple steps for an old-school glazing, and the results were absurdly pleasing. The only glazed carrots I’d ever had were the saccharine lumps from buffet lines and meat-and-threes in Alabama. Eaten right out of the pan, these were tart and sweet (she’d added apple juice), slightly caramelized with the hint of butter cut by the generous amount of ground pepper she used.
We do it a little differently now, having found a modification of James Peterson’s classic approach to be the best.
First, peel four carrots and chop into 2-inch pieces. The pieces won’t be the same thickness, but that’s okay — you’ll just have more texture in the finished dish.
Next, in a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.
When the foam subsides, add the carrots and shake the pan to coat the carrots. I like to let the carrots sit and cook half a minute or so before moving on. Up to you. Season the carrots lightly with kosher salt and ground black pepper, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over them. Shake the pan to coat the carrots, then add enough water to come halfway up the carrots. (Don’t use much more than 1/2 cup though or you’ll have too much water left in the pan.)
Cover the pan and cook the carrots for 10 minutes or so.
Uncover the pan and let the remaining moisture evaporate. When it does, let the carrots cook on the bottom of the pan, rolling them to brown on all sides, about 3-5 minutes. Then, add 1 tablespoon of water to help unlodge the flavorful brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Swirl to cover the carrots with the glaze and cook a minute more.
Eat. Love. Repeat with other root vegetables.