Sunday, January 6, 2013

Root Beer Carrots

I need to say right off the bat that I never look to Rachael Ray for culinary inspiration. That being said, when this dish was served to me, it was too good for me not to repeat it at my Christmas dinner. In additional to being a craft beer connoisseur, I am also a craft root beer connoisseur, and I love recipes that use either type of delightful beverage. Good root beer contains so many flavors I adore - nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves - and it's a wonderful shortcut to add a lot of flavor with minimal effort. The better the root beer, the better this recipe will turn out, but the additional spices boost even mediocre root beer if that's all you've got. All of these warm spices and sweetness might be a bit too much if it were not for the generous amount of fresh thyme sprinkled over the top, it's freshness and just a hint of bitterness cutting through. If you've been blessed with a generous store of carrots as I have, look no further than this recipe. In less than 30 (mostly unattended minutes) you'll have a heaping bowl of delicious veggies to serve the hungry masses, be it a holiday or just an average Tuesday.

Root Beer Carrots
adapted from Rachael Ray
serves 8

1 12 ounce bottle root beer (I recommend Virgil's or Blue Sky or another craft root beer)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 pounds ready-peeled baby carrots (or larger carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1. In a large skillet, bring 1/2 cup water, the root beer, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, cloves and salt to a boil. Add the carrots, return to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and boil until tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the thyme. Using a slotted spoon, place the carrots in a bowl.

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