Sunday, December 16, 2012

Glazed Carrots with Candied Chestnuts

Baby carrots and bottled chestnuts turn into little candied jewels in this sweet side dish. It's perfect for a holiday feast.

  • 5 tablespoons vegan brown sugar, divided
  • 4 teaspoons vegan butter, divided
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped bottled chestnuts
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 4 cups baby carrots 
  • 1/4 cup vegan chicken broth (such as Imagine)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. In a medium skillet, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons butter over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil.

Note: If this step sounds odd, since you're not adding any liquid, don't worry. The brown sugar and butter will go from this:

to this:

quite quickly, at which point they'll came to a boil.

2. Add the chestnuts and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until browned.  Spread the chestnuts in a single layer on wax paper and let stand until dry.

3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons butter with the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots and saute for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low.

4. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the chicken broth and simmer for a final 2 minutes.  Stir in the parsley and salt, and top with the chestnuts.

Nutrition Info:
8 servings (1/2 cup), Calories 107

Tasting Notes:
Delicious - sweet without being overly sugary, and with great contrast between the meaty chestnuts and the crisp carrots. I did wish the carrots were more tender, so would either saute longer on the front end, or cut into smaller slices that would cook faster, even though that would require more prep work. A nice occasional fresh burst of parsley helped offset the fact that yes, this was making your vegetables into candy.


Vegan extra:
If you need a little help relaxing and curbing stress during the holidays, I recommend the most natural cures possible, the things you already know you should do like getting enough sleep, thinking positive, and remembering to exercise. Even though studies show vegans put on less holiday-weight gain than meat eaters, we're not immune if we reach for the vegan cookies every time the holiday pressure gets to us. One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to perform a series of relaxing stretches. And even better if you can do those stretches in bed right before sleep!

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