Glazed French Market Carrots with Quatre Épices: French cuisine is also well known for traditional mixtures of herbs and spices that are so beloved they’ve become known as a single ingredient. Herbes de Provence, Fines herbes, and in this case, Quatre épices– a holiday-appropriate blend of ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper. It’s like a savory version of pumpkin spice.
You can make these several hours ahead, but do not refrigerate them. Serve them at room temperature or reheated gently in their own glaze.
- 1 ½ pound small, round (trimmed then quartered, halved, or left whole so they are all of uniform size)
- water (as needed)
- 2–3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground clove
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
Place the carrots into a sloped sided pan large enough to just hold the carrots in a single layer. Use multiple pans if necessary. Add enough cold water to cover them a bit less than half. Add the butter, ginger, nutmeg, clove, sugar and a big pinch or two of salt and pepper. Bring the water to a very low boil then adjust the heat to keep the boil gentle.
Simmer quietly, turning occasionally, for 8 or 10 minutes. Once the liquid has reduced by half and begins to thicken test them for doneness. They should be beginning to get tender somewhat, but not yet finished cooking.
Continue to cook, 6 to 8 more minutes depending on size of carrots, rolling the carrots around in the pan from time to time. As they get nearly cooked and the glaze gets quite thick you will need to roll them more and more. Give them your undivided attention. You want to remove them from the heat at just the right time when most of the liquid will have evaporated and you will be left with glossy little gems. They should be cooked through but not be mushy. If the carrots cook before the glaze is thick and glossy remove the carrots adding them back to the pan at the last minute if necessary.
Taste glaze and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper before serving while still warm.