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Picture of Cook carrots sous vide.
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Sous vide is usually thought of as a way to cook meat but it can also be used to cook vegetables.  Carrots are a good choice because they are normally tough.  Boiling them will make them tender but you lose much of the flavor in the water.  Sous vide allows you to have tender and flavorful carrots!

When you cook the carrots for a long time (40-60 minutes) at a controlled temperature the pectin that holds the carrot cells together begins to melt, making the carrots tender.  However, the carrot cells themselves don't break down and they retain their flavor instead of releasing it into the water (if you're boiling them).

What you'll need:
  • You don't need a full sous vide setup to cook the carrots, although it does make it easier.  The temperatures for cooking vegetables sous vide aren't as narrow as it is for meat and you can use this technique in the kitchen with a good thermometer and patience.  A cheap crock pot would probably work well because they normally don't get hot enough to boil food.
  • Carrots (duh).  This instructable is for 16 oz. of carrots.
  • Plastic Ziploc-type bags that can withstand boiling temperatures.
  • For the carrot glaze:
    • 2 TBSP Real maple syrup (the elixer of life, not that fake pancake syrup stuff)
    • 4 TBSP Butter (unsalted)
    • Fresh sage
    • Salt and pepper

 
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Step 1: Prepare the carrots

Picture of Prepare the carrots
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Set-up:
  • Set your cooker for 185 F (85 C).
  • Cut up your carrots into two-inch chunks.  You can cut down the cooking time by slicing your thicker carrots into two.
  • Mix in the syrup and sage.  Be careful if you are using fresh sage--some fresh herbs go crazy in the low-oxygen environment of sous vide and will give off more flavor than you want.  I cut up two fresh sage leaves.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put your carrots in a bag or two and drop in the butter.  You don't need to melt the butter first; when it melts in the cooker it will diffuse through the bag and coat the carrots.
  • Vacuum seal your carrots.

If you don't have a vacuum sealer you can use the poor-man's technique: seal your bag most of the way and dunk the bag in a bowl of water, leaving just the unsealed part of the bag above the water.  The water pressure will squeeze out most of the air and then you can finish sealing the bag.  This will work fine; just add a little more cooking time.

Step 2: Cook the carrots

Picture of Cook the carrots
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Drop your carrots in the water bath and cook for 40-60 minutes.  Because the temperatures are relatively high for sous vide some water vapor may form in the bags, which will cause the bags to float.  Put a wire screen or a plate on top of the carrots to keep them completely submerged.

You can serve them immediately after removing them from the bag or you can take a few minutes to brown the outside of the carrots.  Use a hot pan or a blowtorch.  If you brown them in a pan you can also reduce the liquid left in the bags to make a sweet sauce for the carrots.

When done you should have tender, flavor carrots.  Serve and enjoy.