While doing my weekly shopping on Friday I spotted some really nice small carrots with the tops still attached, in the organic section of my produce department. I usually don’t see carrots this small and with tops so I grabbed them. I vaguely remembered seeing a recipe in one of my magazines for roasted carrots and made a spot decision to give it a try. While still in the produce section I found some fresh sage that spoke to me so into the basket it went. And yes, I shop from a list but sometimes fresh things just call your name and there is no use resisting!
After purchasing the carrots I decided to forgo my planned entrée in favor of a pork roast. I knew I had a roast at home in the freezer – the other half of a loin I had purchased previously – so the protein was covered.
Sunday was a pretty busy day – some yard work and lots of laundry – but the carrots didn’t seem to complicated and there is nothing involved in seasoning a roast and putting it in the oven.
The original carrot recipe called for carrots, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. But then I spied an adaptation using maple syrup. Pork and Maple Syrup – this had possibilities. The more I thought about it the more I realized I really wanted to add a flavor profile to the pork. The fresh sage came to mind. And Dijon Mustard. This was going places. I didn’t want to use the sage and the mustard as a coating so I butterflied the boneless loin. My original plan was to slather the inside with Dijon Mustard, lay the fresh sage leaves on top of the mustard and roll the loin up. However, this would require a significant amount of sage and I was afraid it would overwhelm instead of enhance the roast. So I minced six sage leaves and sprinkled them on top of the mustard. Then I rolled and tied the roast.
I put a little grapeseed oil and butter in my very hot cast iron pan. Once the butter had melted I browned the roast on all aides and placed it in a 350 degree F oven. While it was cooking I peeled potatoes and the carrots. I measured out the apple cider and maple syrup and set them aside.
When the pork had reached the desired internal temperature I removed it from the oven and boosted the heat in the oven up to 375 degree F. I placed the carrots in the sauté pan with the melted butter and olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I sautéed the carrots on the top of the stove until they began to turn brown – about 5 minutes. I removed them from the heat, added the maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and they went into the oven to continue cooking until they were fork tender – about another 8 minutes.
I served the pork roast and carrots with mashed potatoes seasoned with Penzey’s Garlic Shoots (they’re new, they’re fun, they’re made for experimentation!) It may sound like too many flavors going on in one dish but it worked! The original carrot recipe calls for 1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews as a garnish. I am not a fan of nuts so you won’t find them in my recipe.
Maple and Cider Vinegar Carrots
- 2 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb medium carrots – tops removed and peeled or scrubbed well
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbl apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbl pure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large heat proof skillet melt the butter in the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned, turning occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes ( longer at altitude.) Remove the pan from the heat and add the syrup and apple cider vinegar to the pan. Be sure to coat all the carrots. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes or until the carrots are tender but not mushy. They can be garnished with chopped green carrot tops or the cashews.