Photographing these carrots almost sent me off the deep end. I re-shot them three times, and by extension I have eaten these guys three times in the past week. They are absolutely gorgeous raw, unpeeled, and with their greens. Unfortunately, taking them through the cooking process yields something quite the opposite of a swan or a butterfly. They get hella uglier as time goes on. Although on the flipside, they become more delicious with some butter, sugar, bourbon, and heat.
I used a mix of colors since 'tis the season (as in the summer produce season, yeh-yeah!), you know? However, the purple ones are truly the belle of the ball. The first time I ever had purple carrots I fell in love. I find them to be sweeter than orange, yellow, or white carrots. But then again, I love all things purple. I think part of it might be the novelty of having vegetables in a hard to find color that makes them so desirable. Two days ago I made some purple mashed potatoes, and I'm always on the lookout for purple cauliflower. The only downside is that the color bleeds pretty badly, but it's something that I'm more than willing to overlook.
Would it be presumptuous of me to call these carrots the best side dish ever? Well, I'm going to do it anyway. These carrots make the best accompaniment ever. They're sweet, salty, slightly crunchy, slightly soft, the best. I had them with chicken but I imagine they would go well with any protein (or non protein).
If you are using purple carrots with orange/yellow/white ones, and you're concerned about presentation, I would suggest cooking the purple ones separately as the color will bleed into the lighter colored carrots.
Serves 3 to 4 as a side.
2 tbsp butter
2 bunches of small-ish carrots (about 1 lb after trimmed and peeled)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chives, chopped
In a large stainless steel skillet, melt butter on medium high heat. Add carrots and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar, bourbon, veggie stock/water, and salt. Stir to combine, turn heat down to medium low, cover, and cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the size of your carrots and how firm or soft you like them). While cooking, check on them every few minutes to make sure the sugars aren't scorching on the bottom of the pan. If the liquid is evaporating too fast, turn down the heat slightly and add a little water.
When the carrots are done, transfer them to a clean plate, top with chives, and serve with your favorite entrée.