Updated: Mon, 7 December, 2020
These fondant carrots are NOT made from fondant icing with orange food colouring. They are an exquisite side dish, worthy to accompany the best roast meats.
How to cook carrots?
Carrots are rather boring but quite reasonably versatile. You needn't cook them: raw and grated or cut into matchsticks they are great thrown in slaw or remoulade.
They can of course be boiled but who would want to boil vegetables when there are so many better ways of preparing them? Roasted carrots are gorgeous and not only around Christmas time.
Fondant carrots in a savoury sense
Fondant carrots is another cooking option. I must admit I am quite fond(ant) of this cooking method: butter, lots of it, thrown at vegetables never goes wrong. Plus the awfully satisfying sizzle and spit when you add boiling water to the already foaming and bubbling butter!
The resulting sauce is gorgeous – sweet and buttery, almost a glaze. Seasoning must, must involve some caraway and cinnamon.
This method of cooking carrots is similar to carrots Vichy, but there you start off with carrots in water, brought to the boil and butter added later. I am not entirely sure how the end product is different to fondant carrots in taste: to be able to truly tell the difference you'd have to have the two side by side.
But I’d rather start off cooking the vegetables in butter, almost frying, then add liquid for the softening process.
How to cook fondant carrots
That's precisely how: I don't even bother to melt the butter before I add the carrots but pack everything into a saucepan: carrots, butter and seasoning. I let it start off over high heat under the lid, shaking the pan every now and again.
When the carrots threaten to catch to the bottom of the pan, hot water or stock go in, making a great show of spittle, sizzle and steam.
After about ten minutes over a lowered heat the liquid gets absorbed into the carrots leaving but a touch of shiny, buttery glaze. And a handful of snipped chives adds the sharpness but, more importantly, vibrantly contrasting colour!
Potatoes are the fondant classic but you can apply the method to various vegetables: celeriac and beetroot included.
fondant carrotsServings: 4Time: about half an hour
- 200g small Chantenay carrots
- 3-4 tbsp. butter
- black pepper
- a drizzle of honey
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup hot chicken stock
- 1 tsp snipped chives
1. Wash and top the carrots. If you can’t get Chantenay carrots, cut ordinary, smallish ones in half lengthwise and in halves across.
2. Place the carrots in a pan with the butter, honey, the caraway and the cinnamon and season with black pepper. Put the pan on high heat and cover with lid.
3. Cook for a few minutes until the butter has foamed off and the carrots almost start to catch, then pour in the hot stock. It will bubble and sizzle spectacularly!
4. Keep it on high heat under the lid, topping up with the stock or water if all liquid has evaporated but the carrots are not yet tender – it should take about 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. There should be no liquid, but the thick, buttery sauce left.
5. Snip some chives into the pan, stir and serve.