One of the very first classes that I was taught in Professional Cooking Culinary Training was Vegetables & Starches Class. I gained a whole new appreciation for vegetables from my culinary instructors during this three-week segment. It was jam-packed with useful information pertaining to all types of vegetables. I was surprised how little tips and techniques made such a difference in the taste of a vegetable; for instance – peeling and cooking a rutabaga properly. I talk about exactly that in this post. But, the vegetable dish that sticks in my mind the most is Vichy Carrots.
The name of this dish originated from a village in France called – you guessed it – Vichy. Known for its slightly carbonated volcanic water, it is said to be one of the most mineral-rich waters in France. Although is not likely the average person will be able to obtain this magical Vichy water, there is nothing stopping us from making Vichy Carrots by substituting either water, carbonated water or chicken stock.
Carrot – a root vegetable, is such a humble ingredient that can be lifted to company status with a simple technique called braising. Most people are very familiar with this term in relation to meat, however, if we expand on that thought to braising vegetables, it is brilliant. It is a simple matter of adding a liquid to vegetables (‘up to their shoulders’, as my culinary instructor would say) until fork tender and then reducing the remaining liquid to a buttery glaze.
Vichy Carrots is a classic recipe – a family favourite and it surely will quickly become your favourite, too. My children and grandchildren ask for it as part of their birthday dinners. That counts for something, doesn’t it? So give it a try. You will love it!
CHEF TALK: Braising vegetables is definitely a technique that I encourage to try. Expand your repertoire by thinking beyond the ordinary carrot recipe with this method. There are only a few simple ingredients to this side dish. It is quick, easy and delicious and it will be on the table in minutes! The classic recipe uses water for the liquid. I use chicken stock, even though it is not traditional. It gives the reduction a little more body. Either way, these carrots are amazing!
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 small onion, in small dice (about 1/4 inch)
- 1 lb. carrots, washed, peeled and cut into coins
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup – 1 cup carbonated water or chicken stock
Garnish: 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
- In a 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter.
- Add the onion. Cook while stirring until the onion is translucent. (about two minutes)
- Add the carrots and turn to coat in the butter.
- Add salt, sugar and chicken stock.
- Cover and cook until the carrots are tender. (there will still be liquid remaining).
- At this point, you can uncover and reduce the liquid to a syrup consistency or you can remove the carrots and reduce the liquid while keeping the carrots warm.
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
“The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”
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Happy Vichy Braising, Everyone! If you try my recipe for Vichy Carrots, please leave me a comment below with your feedback.
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