Thanksgiving has come and gone here in Canada (whew, this year is FLYING by – one year ago today I was landing in England to visit my daughter. It feels like I was just there a couple months ago.). But thankfully, being an American, I still allow myself to celebrate Thanksgiving again in November too. Did I mention it’s one of my favourite holidays? It’s not just because of the food, although the food is pretty awesome. Any holiday that reminds us to count our blessings and be grateful for what we have is a winner in my books. So, when trying to come up with a new take on an old classic Thanksgiving recipe, I want it to be extra special. And these Honey Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots certainly fit the bill.
Don’t drink alcohol? Well contrary to popular belief, when you cook with it, the alcohol content doesn’t always cook off completely so don’t be fooled by that. Never fear though, I’ve got you covered. I have an alcohol free option here too.
Honey Maple Bourbon Glazed Carrots with a Non-Alcoholic Option
2 lbs. carrots, cut into 1/4 inch thick (roughly) slices
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup bourbon (I used my favourite Devil’s Cut Jim Beam for its depth of flavour)/Use orange juice instead if you don’t want to use alcohol
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 T. honey
1 T. maple syrup (the real stuff – it’s worth it)
1 tsp. of ginger (I like the paste type that comes in a tube)
Salt and pepper
Some fresh rosemary, thyme, or parsley can be a nice garnish for this
Instructions: Melt half the butter in a frying pan. A cast iron pan works really well here. Toss in the carrots to get a bit of colour on them. Another option is to toss the carrots with melted butter and a bit of olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven instead of in the frying pan. Your goal is to get a bit of caramelization and colour on them, which takes about 5-10 minutes. What I like about the cast iron pan is that I can start them on the stove top and move them to the oven if needed. Then I can put the pan back on the stove top for the rest of the cooking. You don’t need to get the carrots completely cooked at this stage. They will continue once the sauce is added.
Once the carrots have a bit of colour on them, remove them from the pan. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, followed by the bourbon or orange juice. Be extra careful adding the alcohol if you have a gas range. You don’t want to cause a flare-up of flames! Let the liquid start bubbling a little bit and then stir in the brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and ginger. This mixture should get bubbly and frothy. When that happens, add the carrots back to the pan, turn the heat down and put the lid on. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until the carrots are cooked to your liking. I prefer for them to be still slightly crunchy. Finish them off with a sprinkling of salt (I prefer sea salt) and some fresh cracked pepper (optional).
That’s it! It’s a really quick and easy recipe. I don’t know about you – but when I’m serving a big meal on a holiday, that’s just what I need. Something that tastes like I worked hard in the kitchen all day long when I really didn’t! These honey maple bourbon glazed carrots are the perfect side dish to accompany any meal.