What happens when you become bored, and want something "different"? Experimentation! The end result is some tasty fare, or a disaster. I've had my share of those! Luckily, this bored day, we had apple juice, dried cherries, walnuts, and carrots about the kitchen. We tend to snack upon dried fruits, and nuts. I keep apple juice on hand as a tenderizing agent, adding it often when roasting meat. This unusually gray fall day, I served Carrots Andrea paired with thin sliced Ribeye steaks accented by beef bullion, infused with garlic, basil and pepper. The colorful side dish gave our dinner plate a lovely bit of fall color. Paired with a meat as a side dish, or taking center stage as a main course, I hope you'll find this simple, quick, recipe a bit of tasty fare.
Heat over to 350 degrees F
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper
6 medium sized carrots, chopped
1 cup apple juice
1/2 medium lemon (about 1-2 Tablespoons of juice)
1 cup dried cherries (pre-cooked)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon dried thyme
sea salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons olive oil
In a sauce pan, over medium heat, gas mark 3, add apple juice, dried cherries, and the juice of one half lemon. I juice my lemon over the pot, squeezing the juice into my hand, allow it to pass through my fingers, while catching the seeds.
Allow the apple juice to simmer, reducing to about a half cup. During the cooking process, the cherries will plump, and the sauce will become a gorgeous, aromatic, deep red. Once reduced to half, turn off heat.
Peel and chop carrots in large chunks, about 1/2" thick.
Roughly chop walnuts.
Add carrots, walnuts, thyme, salt, and pepper to a large bowl. Pour olive oil over the top of the ingredients, and mix well, coating the carrots, and walnuts. This method of mixing your ingredients in a bowl, allows the spices to evenly dispense throughout. An even distribution prevents a deposit or burst of a specific spice, which can ruin your dining experience.
Once coated, pour the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, spreading the carrots out so they will bake evenly. Insert into middle rack of oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or to desired softness.
Pour the apple cherry mixture over the top of the baked carrots, then serve. The combination of savory, sweet, and citrus creates a tasty side dish, with beautiful color for your fall dinner offerings.
For an option; substitute orange juice for the apple juice, omit the lemon, and substitute cranberries for the cherries. This creates an equally aromatic, colorful, tasty fare with a bit more citrus, perfect alongside poultry.
Experimenting in the kitchen can be fun. Don't be afraid to pair different ingredients. The result may become your signature side dish. Enjoy.
Until next time. Wishing you all the best -