Nantes Carrot Stew

  • 1kg sweet carrots, preferably Nantes, I used supermarket standard and this dish is still lovely amazing
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 60-90g unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or Madeira
  • 1 cup fresh carrot juice (If you have no juicer then best just to buy some, its too difficult in a blender)
  • Large pinch of Yellow Curry Powder or Madras curry powder

Nantes carrots, which Tucker Taylor grows in the French Laundry garden, are a long cylindrical variety that’s about the same diameter from end to end. Cut into oblique shapes or lengthwise into what we call icicles, they’re small enough to stew quickly in carrot juice with a splash of sherry or Madeira and a sachet of coriander and caraway seeds, and they’re finished with a touch of curry powder. Combined with Asparagus Coins, they make a vivid dish, great with a flaky white fish such as cod or bass. They’d also be excellent with a rack of lamb or Cornish game hens.

These can be cooked a day ahead, cooled in the liquid, and refrigerated. If you have a juicer, make your own carrot juice. The sauce will be thicker because of the natural starches in the juice, which store-bought carrot juice often lacks.

Peel the carrots and cut them into oblique shapes.

Make a sachet of the coriander and caraway seeds by wrapping them in a piece of cheesecloth and tying it with kitchen twine.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until the carrots begin to give off their juices, about 6 minutes. Lower the heat as necessary to keep the carrots from browning. Add the sherry and cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrot juice, curry powder, and sachet and cook, swirling the pan, for 2 more minutes, or until the carrots are just tender. (The carrots can be cooled and refrigerated in the liquid overnight.) With a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to a bowl. Discard the sachet.

Simmer the carrot juice until reduced to a light glaze. Whisk in the remaining 2 to 4 tablespoons of butter, depending on your preference, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season to taste with salt, add the carrots, and swirl to glaze the carrots. Transfer to a serving bowl.

SERVES 6 as an accompanyment, 2 as a lovely lunch

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