Herb Roasted Purple and Orange Carrots

Alright, alright, I know what you're thinking -- last week a recipe with kale and chickpeas, and now a whole post on carrots?! Weren't you promised buttery cinnamon-y pumpkin scones last week, in that last post about soup?! 

Well, yes, you're right, but in my defense, this recipe came as a complete surprise to me, too. Let me explain. While doing a typical weekly shopping at the supermarket -- picking up milk, eggs, butter, the usuals -- I happened across these purple (yes, purple!) carrots at the market. Though I'd heard of purple potatoes and purple cauliflower, purple carrots were news to me, and if there's anything that can deter me from a pumpkin-based sweet, it's a purple carrot -- I mean, who's ever heard of such a thing! -- and so I tossed a big bunch into my shopping cart, my banal shopping excursion suddenly becoming an event. 

But to the recipe! Now, if you're one of the many people with a dislike for cooked carrots, I completely get it. The sad, boiled carrots of your high school cafeteria days were far from appetizing, and cooked carrots don't have the greatest flavor in general. Roasting carrots however caramelizes their natural sugars and intensifies their flavor -- think of Roasting as the Fairy Godmother and the Carrots as Cinderella in this scenario -- a little time in the oven transforming the carrots into something truly spectacular and worthy of a pair of glass slippers. Cooking method aside, I chose to treat my purple carrots much like I would a potato, tossing them with olive oil, salt, pepper, a tiny bit of garlic, and herbs, and adding some orange carrots in to the mix to create a nice mix of colors (it's not every day you see purple and orange together on one dish, am I right?!) 

So, the verdict on those curiously purple carrots? They were fantastic, a bit starchier and more potato-like than your average carrot, and a lot less sweet, which both balanced out and contrasted nicely with the sweet orange carrots. The dish as a whole proved to be one of those seemingly rare recipes that manages to be delicious and good for you, bright and colorful and filling, with savory oregano and cozy rosemary. It is the perfect accompaniment to a main dish like turkey, chicken, fish, or beef, but you could easily eat a plate of them by themselves warm out of the oven, as my sister and I did, no main course needed.

A couple of notes on this: If you can't find purple carrots, you can also make this recipe with just orange carrots, or also substitute halved baby potatoes for the purple carrots to add that starchier, less sweet element. As always, I kept the garlic clove whole and then removed it at the end of cooking, as I find the flavor of chopped garlic to be way too strong. Note that I measured my carrots after peeling, so used 1 1/2 pounds peeled carrots. The bright purple color of the carrots turns into a very dark purple once you roast them (see the above photo) so if your carrots are no longer shocking violet when they come out of the oven, don't worry.

Looking for more side dishes? How about this Corn Salad, this Asparagus with Parmesan and Prosciutto, or this Apple, Sausage, and Apricot Stuffing?


HERB ROASTED PURPLE AND ORANGE CARROTS

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds (560 grams) carrots, peeled 
1/4 cup (40 grams) olive oil
2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter, melted 
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel and trim the carrots, and cut the carrots diagonally into slices. Cut any thicker carrots in half lengthwise to ensure even cooking (i.e, make sure all the carrots are cut more or less the same size).
Whisk together the olive oil, butter, oregano, and rosemary and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the carrots and toss well. Add the garlic clove and toss again.



Roast the carrots for about 45 minutes, tossing the carrots halfway through roasting time for even browning. Remove the garlic clove and serve. Serves 4-6. 




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