Switching Sides: Simple Roasted Carrots For Thanksgiving

by Lindsey on November 2, 2011

Thanksgiving is my holiday. All mine. I plan the menu, but I don’t forget to add in a few family favorites mixed with a few new recipes I’ve bookmarked to try. What usually happens though, is that I end up with way too many sides that take too much time to prepare.  Inevitably we eat about an hour later (okay, two) than I tell everyone.   Not this year.

This year I’m taking Thanksgiving back. I’m all about simplicity this year. I want good-quality ingredients prepared simply with as little stress as possible. I’m trading in those time-consuming sides (with too many steps and endless ingredients) for the basics done well.

A few Thanksgivings ago, I made Braised Carrots with Shallots, Thyme and Sage from Gourmet Magazine. They were incredible.  INCREDIBLE.

Because I usually run out of burners on the stove, I’m trading the 20 minutes on the stove for 20 minutes in the oven. I’m nixing the braising liquid and the high calorie butter (though, as I said–incredible), and yes, even the shallots. I will be keeping the basic flavor elements that will help the sweetness of the baby rainbow carrots shine through.

Fresh herbs are an important part of Thanksgiving.  I planted sage in my garden a few years ago just so I could have it for Thanksgiving.  True story.  And basically so I could eat those braised carrots all spring, summer, and winter long.

If you can’t find fresh herbs, don’t fret.  Dried is fine.  Just use about half as much because dried herbs (if they aren’t too old and stale) will be stronger than an equal amount of fresh.  I love sage by itself, but I’ve added rosemary and thyme here because…well, because why not?  It’s Thanksgiving after all.

Last time-saving tip–don’t peel your carrots. It won’t hurt you to eat the peel.  And it saves a lot of time.  These carrots are pretty small anyway, so I also didn’t want to lose too much by peeling them.  I scrub them with a brush or the rough side of a new dish sponge to remove any dirt.  I halved or quartered the thicker carrots so they all cooked evenly.  (For size reference, the carrots pictured ranged from the thickness of a pencil to about 1″ in diameter.)

Use the leftovers cold or room temperature in a salad or dipped in something yummy.

Roasted Baby Carrots with Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
double or triple for a crowd, this amount will serve 4

1 1/2 lbs. baby carrots (rainbow if you can find them), washed well
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, minced
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stems
5-6 sage leaves, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Toss carrots with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and herbs.  Roast at 425 degrees F for about 20 minutes in a baking dish or on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  (I like mine tender-crisp.  Roast longer if you prefer them more tender.)

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