Carrots simmered in a glaze of tangerine juice, butter, ginger, brown sugar and cocoa nibs.
Carrots, with their graceful, tapered bodies, create such an image of something ripped by its hair from the comfort zone of cool moist soil. After months of darkness, being nurtured by a soil that gently parts to accommodate its slow growth; suddenly, forcefully yanked into a new, bright environment.
Ever have days like that?
When I first moved to San Francisco from Boston many years ago, I felt completely disoriented by this new, super-active, activity-driven environment I’d been plunged into, so far from the comfort of my family and friends. I had friends back in Boston ready to rent a moving van to come pick me up at a moments notice, but people here told me to be patient; that the rule of thumb for an east coast to west coast move was 2 years to get settled, 5 years to get rooted. It was in fact a painstakingly slow rooting for me, and one of the many lessons I learned was the value of patience; that everything isn’t going to fall into place and feel like home right away, or even after only a few months.
Today, looking back, while I acknowledge there are a lot of really wonderful places to live in this country, and I’ve been lucky enough to live in quite a few of them; I’ve become so firmly rooted here with deep, interconnected roots with new family and friends, that I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
If you’re starting to plan a chocolate-centric Valentine’s Day dinner, this can make for a great side dish with the cocoa nibs adding just a hint of chocolate with the tangerine and ginger.
As a little information on cocoa nibs, they are essentially the foundation of all chocolate in an unsweetened form. Cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate beans are roasted and then winnowed to remove their thin shells, or hulls. The roasted beans shatter into fragments in the winnowing process, and these fragments are cocoa nibs. Nibs from different beans are blended to create a particular flavor profile, and finely ground to a thick paste, called chocolate liquor. This liquor, when hardened into bars is the unsweetened chocolate we see on our market shelves. It’s also the foundation of all chocolates. Only recently have nibs themselves become a product. They are wonderful in this recipe where they infuse the glaze with just a hint of chocolate. I’ve also added them to granola. Buy some when see them and start experimenting!
Save the tangerine shells for making citrus-herb salts.
I used Satsuma tangerines, but any tangerine will work beautifully with this recipe.
Tangerine-Ginger Glazed Carrots with Cocoa Nibs
- 2 bunches carrots mixed colors (about 1 pound without the green tops)
- 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed tangerine
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger about a 2” piece
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cocoa nibs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Peel and stem the carrots, leaving about 1 inch of the green stems intact.
- Combine the remaining ingredients, and add the carrots. Add enough water to just cover the carrots. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer until the carrots are tender. The length of time for this will depend on the thickness and freshness of the carrots, but 15-30 minutes is a good range to work with.
- When the carrots are tender, remove from the pan. The sauce should be thick and glaze-like. If it isn't, reduce it until it is over medium heat. Pour the sauce over the carrots.
- Serve warm.