The weather in Paris has been - by Paris standards - incredibly cold. By Chicago standards, it's been, eh, normal. But I've been living here for ten years and we are not used to getting snow more than once every couple of years and it generally melts the next day. Well, not this year. Here we are in the middle of a cold snap, with snow on the ground for the last three days, in a large apartment full of windows. Double glazed, yes, but not sufficient to keep in all of the lukewarm heat our Parisian radiators emit. And so what does a clever mother of a two month baby do? Laundry and lots of it, because the dryer vents directly into the kitchen. And she comes up with something to put in the oven every night. Yes, we are back in the days of the Franklin stove heating up the house.
Normally, I only roast carrots when I'm doing a pork roast and want to fill in the space around the meat. Carrots are not my favorite vegetable and so I tend to see them as more of a filler than an exciting ingredient on their own. I always have a lot of carrots in the fridge, though, because I know the Critic loves them, cooked and raw. So this recipe is the result of necessity (that happy mother of invention) in two ways: I wanted to fire up the oven and I wanted to be able to use ingredients I already had in the apartment, and thus avoid taking the young one out in the cold.
And Necessity gave birth to a gorgeous new dish, one that is definitely going to be made again. Roasting carrots keeps them firm and delightful to bite. The shallots and carrots naturally become sweeter with the roasting, but when a hint of sugar and ginger are added all four combine to make a complex sweet and spicy mixture of flavors. I served them with a cottage pie, but they would be even better next to a roast. Or maybe a nice mushroom risotto for our vegetarian friends?
Ginger glazed roast carrots
5-6 large carrots, cleaned and cut in large chunks
10-12 shallots, outer skins removed and topped and tailed
2 Tbs sunflower oil
1 tsp sugar or brown sugar (I used what they call sucre roux, which is brown crystal sugar)
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp salt
Toss all the ingredients in a roasting pan and mix well. Place in a hot oven (200c/375f) for about an hour. Stir the ingredients every 15 minutes or so to make sure they are browning on more than one side.
The useful thing about roasting your vegetables is that they can remain in the hot oven almost indefinitely, while you wait for the rest of the dinner to finish or (more likely in this household) for your spouse to get home from work. They can also heat your chilly apartment and fill it with delectable sweet ginger scents!