Tuesday, February 25, 2014

David Chang's carrots, two ways

David Chang's method for cooking carrots is the best I've ever had.  I first saw it in Lucky Peach, but have also found the recipe online.

We have been cooking carrots this way at least once a week lately.  Be sure to cook extras, as you can turn your leftovers into a delicious soup (see the end of this post).

I started with two pounds of carrots.  We currently have some very pretty rainbow carrots from the farm. 

Before you start prepping the carrots, start to prepare the juice.  For two pounds of carrots, I use two cups of carrot juice.  If you have a juicer, then you can make your own, but I buy carrot juice at the grocery store.  (In a pinch, I've bought an orange and carrot juice mix, but get the plain carrot juice if you can find it.  I have found plain carrot juice at Shaw's, Sudbury Farms and Whole Foods.)  Don't worry, you won't end up wasting the carrot juice, if you make the soup with your leftovers.  (And you will want to do this, as the soup is really good.)

Put the two cups of carrot juice into a saucepan and add a piece of kombu, which is a thick dried seaweed (I found it at Whole Foods).  Simmer with a cover on for 10-15 minutes.  Be careful, or the juice will boil over.  It's a mess when that happens.  After simmering, let it sit covered on the stove with the heat off until you're ready to cook the carrots.  The recipe recommends steeping for at least an hour, if you have the time. 

Now you can start preparing your carrots.  Wash them first.  You don't have to peel them, but I do.  Save your ends and peels for veggie stock.  (I'll have a future post about that.)

Cut the carrots into chunks.

When you're ready to start cooking the carrots (you can hold at the prep state for a while if you'd like), remove the kombu from the carrot juice and put it in your compost. 

Put 1.5-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter into a large saute pan and melt it.

Add the carrots to the butter and salt them.  I didn't measure the salt, but I did shake some on all of the carrots.

Stir them up, then add the carrot juice.  Note that the juice gets some odd solids in it after the simmering.  I just scrape them into the carrots.

Be sure to cover the pan, so that the juice will not boil off. 

Cook the carrots over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook them to your desired tenderness (I like them at around 15 minutes).  Test with a fork starting after 10 minutes.

If the juice does boil off, you can add water to thin it back down.  I had this happen to me once when the cover wasn't on tightly.  The carrots still turned out well.

Serve the carrots without the juice, but be sure to save the juice in the pan to use after dinner. 

After dinner, I put my leftover carrots in a blender (sadly, just a run of the mill, cheap blender), then pour in the juice, and blend it up for a carrot soup for the next day. 

Lunch for tomorrow!

After warming the soup, I like to stir in a tablespoon or two of fat-free greek yogurt to add some creamy goodness.

Note that both the carrot juice and the soup are a darker orange because of the red carrots that I used.  When I cook just orange and yellow carrots, the color is much brighter.  That said, unless you need the soup to be bright orange, there's no ready not to use the red carrots as well.

The husband approves of both carrot preparations.  Given that he's not a fan of veggie soups, it is high praise.  Try these carrots.  You'll never make them another way.

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