Roasted carrots with honey glaze (AMY BONCHUK / FOR THE SUN)
Oh my ... it is the beginning of August, already! This week we enjoyed some extremely hot and heavy temperatures and weathered the storms that followed. With summer in full swing, we must enjoy every moment; whether hot, or storming. My spare summer moments are spent tending my garden; so it seems fitting that my recipes reflect the flavours that I surround myself with every day.
It’s no secret that I use fresh herbs in most of my meals — and why not? They are plentiful and cheap (when you grow them yourself); and they are the easiest, calorie-free flavour addition out there! I know I have incessantly praised the culinary bliss of using fresh herbs; but, I love them, almost as much as I love garlic. Well ... almost.
Another great feature of our Manitoba summers is the local honey. With our bounty of wildflowers, cultivated alfalfa, and canola; Manitoba honey is a great way to add our own unique terroir to a dish. Terroir is wino speak for flavours of a region found within the wine itself. Honey has a strong link to terroir, as the bees collect the nectar from the flowers in their own environment and then we enjoy the delicious fruits of their labours. Like wine, I would assume if you did a honey-tasting, there would be profound characteristics that differentiate the honeys collected from different regions.
With honey producers located across the province who sell from their farms or to local markets, I encourage you to stop in and buy your honey directly from the producer. Ask questions and find out about the bees and what type of flowers they are collecting from. It will give an increased awareness of this sweet gift from nature and the masked individuals who work to collect it. Unbeatably delicious, buying direct allows for a greater appreciation of the golden viscous liquid; as it is more beautiful than anything that sits on ... say the giant box store’s shelf.
Also, try buying more than one type of honey and comparing it to identify the flavour characteristics that bees work so hard to gather. Bursting with health properties and making a surge with its hailed anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-septic powers, honey is not just a sweet treat, it’s a power-food! I truly feel that honey is an under-used product that needs more exposure and showcasing, so I paired the bee-utiful golden honey with young garden carrots.
With an abundance of carrots in my garden, I have been playing with a variety of ways to showcase them at meal time. This particular recipe uses simple cooking techniques to enrich the flavour and then I enhance the simplicity of the dish with honey and fresh dill.
A great compliment with any chicken, beef, or pork dish, the carrots become sweeter naturally by the roasting process. As the higher temperature cooks the carrots, it reduces the moisture content which in turn doubles the natural flavour, or carrot-ness.
The great thing about this honey-glaze it that it is not limited to carrots. I spent some time and considered the versatility of the glaze, not only can you use it on a multiple of items, you can also change the flavour profile by changing the herb used, so don’t feel limited to what the recipe says. Some other great, glaze-worthy suggestions: butternut squash, beets, chicken skewers, short ribs, ham, or freshly-baked biscuits; all would be over-the-top terrific and a welcomed way to create a buzz in your kitchen this summer season.
Roast Carrots with Honey Dill glaze
- 1 bunch of young carrots; clean and trim tops
- 1 or 2 tbsp of olive oil, enough to lightly coat the carrots
- 1 bunch of fresh dill, about 1 heaping tbsp. chopped
- 4 tbsp of honey
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 clove of garlic, minced extra fine
- 1 tsp of kosher salt
- 1 tsp cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F. Clean carrots and trim the tops, I left some of the greens for presentation. Toss carrots in the olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place in an even layer on a baking sheet or stone. Ensure that they aren’t crowded or they won’t roast properly and will steam instead.
Roast for about 810 minutes and turn once during cooking. Cook until just fork tender.
While the carrots are cooking gently heat the butter in a sauce pan on low-med. Add garlic and pepper and salt and cook for 3 minutes then add the honey. Finish with the dill and remove from heat.
Once the carrots are removed from the oven place them on a serving dish and pour the glaze over the top. You could also toss the carrots in the glaze before service.
Another option would be to grill your carrots on the barbecue or add a different herb to the honey.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 4, 2012