These braised carrots are a showstopping side dish that’s gently cooked with orange and rosemary until the carrots are tender, buttery, and fragrant.
I cook these carrots often, especially in the colder months; they’re simple to make yet so flavorful. I buy carrots with the tops on. They’re so sweet, and they’re small enough that for a recipe like this, you don’t need to cut them –Sara Foster with Carolynn Carreno
Braised Carrots FAQs
Do carrots really help eyesight, or is that an old wives’ tale?
Well, eating a ton of carrots isn’t going to correct anyone’s eyesight or give you super-human vision (although that would be really cool!), but adding carrots to your diet will increase the amount of beta-carotene you’re consuming. Beta-carotene is a substance that your smart lil body converts to vitamin A, a lack of which could cause blindness. Carrots are super tasty, versatile, and promote overall eye health (which is really cool, too!). We’d say that makes them pretty super.
Does it matter what color carrots I use to make these braised carrots?
No, it absolutely does not matter. Well, actually, let us rephrase that. You can make these braised carrots with carrots of any hue and they’ll turn out quite lovely. So don’t worry if you can’t find rainbow carrots. That said, a collection of carrots in varied colors turn shyly sophisticated in this side that’s as welcome at fancy-schmancy occasions as it is weeknight suppers. These carrots, which come in snazzy hues you’ve probably never imagined you’d find other than on Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, are lurking at many farmers’ markets as well as most grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s. We sorta think of them as the root veggie equivalent of jazz hands. Though the taste varies a little less dramatically from one shade to the next than the hue does, you won’t be disappointed.
Braised Carrots with Orange and Rosemary
- 1 pound small carrots with tops on (about 2 bunches) or bagged baby carrots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
- 1/2 cup cold water
- Juice of 1 orange
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the tops off the carrots, leaving about 1/2 inch of the green stem attached, and wash thoroughly.
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the carrots and cook, stirring from time to time, for about 8 minutes, until tender and have a little color.
- Add the rosemary and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Stir in the orange juice, 1/2 cup of cold water, salt, and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and let the carrots simmer until nearly all of the liquid has cooked off, about 10 minutes.
- Season the carrots with more salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Not only did these glazed braised carrots look terrific with their ends on, but they tasted even better. We were pigs, so there were no leftovers for tomorrow.
I used multi-colored carrots, so you can just imagine how lovely they looked, glistening under the reduced orange juice and rosemary. The scent was wonderful, too. Braising is a fabulous way to cook vegetables, and this recipe begins by caramelizing the carrots, so the braising liquid becomes sticky and satiny. The carrots were tender and sweet and simply perfect. I could not think of a single way to improve them!
The flavors in this braised carrots recipe are absolutely outstanding. Not too orangey. A nice, slight taste of rosemary. I used baby carrots, as that was the only thing I had on hand. A simple side dish that can easily go with just about any meal.
This braised carrots recipe is the perfect example of a gorgeous and delicious vegetable dish. I couldn’t get the bunched, tops-on rainbow carrots so I used the loose variety in all their radiant hues. Naturally, my final dish looked different than the one in the recipe photo. This didn’t make it any less beautiful. The rosemary and orange flavours just elevated the carrot-y-ness and made this dish a stand-alone or partner to other veggies, fish, or meats without loosing any oomph.
After peeling my carrots, I trimmed them into similar thickness batons. My orange offered me a yield of 100 ml of juice and this was enough liquid to cook the carrots to their glossy, tender-with-a-titch-of-a-bite glory. I used 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt with the addition of the orange juice and 1/4 teaspoon of flake salt as a finishing salt. These amounts worked well for our palates.
I have the habit of zesting the orange peel before juicing oranges. I either keep this zest in the fridge for other potential uses or dehydrate when I have a larger quantity to make orange powder for baking. As the amount from the orange was only 1/2 tablespoon, I added it to the last 10 minutes of cooking. The flavour was well balanced prior to this addition. The zest toned down the sweetness without overdoing the orange flavour. I only suggest this as a variant option. Otherwise, carrot on!
These braised carrots were delicious and fragrant, had great visual appeal, and were a welcome change from my usual cooking method. They were the perfect complement to a pork tenderloin and would be equally at home with any type of roasted meat. If you can get your hands on some super fresh young carrots, do give this recipe a try!
Lightly peeling the carrots was the easiest way to get them clean, and is way easier than scrubbing. My bunch was on the small side, so I scaled down the amount of rosemary to about ½ tablespoon, which still provided plenty of flavor and fragrance. Rosemary can be overpowering, and I like to use it sparingly. After 10 minutes of cooking with the lid on in step 3, removing the lid and continuing to cook a few minutes longer helped to concentrate and thicken the juices.
Originally published December 20, 2010