Have you heard of sous vide? Why do we want to cook this way? And why carrots?
These are all excellent questions, dear reader.
HOW DOES SOUS VIDE COOKING WORK?
How does sous vide work, exactly? Well, an immersion circulator immersed in water creates an environment with a consistent temperature, which ensures consistent cooking results. It’s the equivalent to a slow, gentle poach that helps food retain its moisture, too.
There’s a little bit of a learning curve with using this style of cooking, but it’s nothing to be too wary of. It’s mostly a hands-off process, not unlike cooking in a slow cooker.
New to sous vide cooking? Start here!
WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT SOUS VIDE CARROTS?
The carrots in today’s recipe not only become nicely tender when cooked sous vide, but also become intensely flavorful—it’s as though cooking sous vide concentrates the flavors, turning them into the most premier specimens of carrot. They become sweeter and snappier, while also tasting earthy and distinctly carroty—and in a way that you can’t achieve from roasting or steaming.
The low, slow method of cooking sous vide is well suited to many vegetables and carrots are no exception. Steamed carrots sometimes get mushy or just feel too waterlogged, and they lose their snap really quickly if you don’t keep an eye on them. Oven-roasted carrots can also easily become overcooked and mushy as their tough fibers soften.
In sous vide cooking, because the carrots are enclosed in a tightly sealed plastic bag and then gently cooked in precisely-controlled hot water, they are protected from both water absorption and moisture loss, and aren’t at nearly as much risk of overcooking.
HOW LONG TO COOK CARROTS SOUS VIDE?
In comparison to a lot of other sous vide recipes, carrots cook fairly quickly. A big cut of meat, like a bottom round roast, can take up to 24 hours to become tender, but carrots are ready within 15 to 20 minutes, which makes them an easy dinner side dish.
Exact timing will depend on the size and thickness of your carrots (for example, skinny, slender spring carrots verses thicker, knobbier supermarket carrots). I’d recommend checking your carrots at about 15 minutes, and then re-sealing the bag and cooking for longer if needed. When you can stick a fork in the thick part of the carrots and remove it easily, they’re done.
- Cooking Tip! If you find that the carrots float when you add them to the sous vide bath, carefully remove the bag from the water and add several servings spoons, which will weigh down the bag and keep the carrots submerged during cooking.
MAKE-AHEAD CARROTS FOR THE WEEK
One of the biggest advantages to cooking sous vide is that you can make meal components, such as these carrots, ahead of time and quickly reheat them when you need them.
Once cooked, let the carrots cool in their bag, then throw them in the fridge for later. You can then reheat them as needed for a quick side dish, or add them to other dishes, like quick pastas, salads, soups, or quesadillas.
I cooked these carrots and ate some of them right away while I was testing them because they were irresistible. I put the rest in the fridge and then later browned them in a cast iron skillet with some sous vide baby red potatoes that I had also cooked earlier in the week.