Perfect glazed carrots, every time

For some time now, I’ve been frustrated by Thomas Keller.

See, I’ve tried and tried to make glazed vegetables using the recipe in his Bouchon cookbook, but I can never seem to get it right. There’s just something about the precise combination of cutting the carrots properly, adding the right amount of water, and heating them just so, to reduce the liquid to a thick glaze just as the vegetables are tender, that has always eluded me.

So I was pleased to read, in the booklet of information and recipes authored by Keller that came with my Sous Vide Professional, that perfect glazed carrots are only a vacuum bag away. (Never mind the fact that he denigrates the process while describing it!)

While sous vide is a technique mostly applied to meat and fish, it can also be very effective with vegetables, especially sturdy root vegetables. (Most green vegetables are avoided, since sous vide cooking can turn them dingy.) At around 85°C, the cell walls in vegetables start to break down, producing a consistently tender but toothsome result.

For glazed carrots sous vide, I vacuum sealed carrot pieces with some butter, salt and sugar (using the proportions from Bouchon), and cooked them at 85°C for an hour. When the time was up, I opened the bag, poured the contents into a waiting sauté pan, and reduced the liquid to coat the vegetables. It took less than a minute.

The resulting carrots were perfectly glazed, and intensely carroty. They were also slightly firmer than I like, which suggests that a longer cooking time may be necessary. Still, they were the most successful glazed carrots I’ve ever made, and I was happy with the results.

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