Apple Cider Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Nutmeg

by formerchef on November 14, 2011

Post image for Apple Cider Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Nutmeg

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, probably because it’s all about food and there’s no gift buying pressure.

Our family’s Thanksgiving tradition is a little different from most. It started back when my mother was a young graduate student at Berkely in the early 70’s. I remember it clearly and I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old at the time. We had about 25 people over to dinner and they were all “friends and orphans” with no family in the area and nowhere else to go. We didn’t have a lot of money, but somehow my mom managed to put on an amazing feast.
Over the years little has changed. We still have somewhere between 15 and 25 people at dinner, mostly friends and sometimes the occasional relative. The players have evolved to be a greater proportion my generation’s “friends and orphans” but the love and familial feeling has remained the same. Some of my friends have been coming for over 20 years and now bring their own children to dinner.

The food has evolved throughout the years. The old standbys are there; turkey, mashed potatoes, yams with brown sugar, but some items have fallen out of favor. We said goodbye to the “ambrosia” fruit salad with walnuts and marshmallow cream once and for all about ten years ago. My mother no longer burns the rolls because she no longer makes them.

Every year there are new dishes with some success and a few failures. I still believe 1992’s pumpkin ravioli were ahead of their time but will admit that ’08’s creamy parsnip casserole, while tasty, was a tad heavy. Each Thanksgiving I try to make a new dessert to go along with my famous pumpkin chiffon pie and search for a new vegetable side dish to offset some of the starchier ones.

Last year I made a spinach salad with persimmons. This year, I have no persimmons thanks to the squirrels, so it has to be something else. It’s back to basics time. I wanted something simple and straightforward, something which could be partially made in advance if needed and that’s where carrots come in. You may think carrots are boring, but oh no, these carrots are dressed up for the party, but still friendly enough for kids.

The use of apple cider syrup (aka “boiled cider” and “apple molasses”) is a new ingredient for me. My mother made a few bottles, inspired by this blog post boiled cider on Foodie with Family, and then right after I’d made a test batch of these carrots, featured a cocktail using boiled cider. Once I tasted the syrup (refreshing when added into some soda water), I knew I needed to make something with it. You can buy Boiled Cider, or make your own by following the simple instructions on Foodie with Family. If you don’t want to buy or make the apple cider syrup for this recipe, you can substitute 100% maple syrup, but the flavor will be slightly sweeter (there’s a nice tang on the apple cider syrup).


Recipe for Apple Cider Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Nutmeg

Printable Recipe in PDF for Apple Cider Carrots

2 lbs fresh carrots
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple cider syrup
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
3 sprigs fresh rosemary (about 1/4 oz wt.)
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Peel the carrots, cut off the ends and cut into batons (that’s a fancy French culinary term for sticks). You can actually cut the carrots into any shape and size you prefer, though cooking times may vary.

2. In a large bowl, toss the carrots with the olive oil, apple cider syrup and nutmeg, until coated. Spread out in a baking dish large enough so that the carrots are only 1 layer deep. Add in 2 of the 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and place in the 350 degree oven.

3. Remove the rosemary leaves from the last sprig, and chop into 1/4 inch pieces (about 1.5 tsp total, chopped).

4. After about 20 minutes of cooking time, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the pan and discard. Sprinkle the carrots with the freshly chopped rosemary and stir to combine and turn over the carrots. Return the pan to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the carrots start to brown slightly. When done, they should still be slightly firm (no mushy carrots here!).


Apple Cider Carrots

1 Myra November 14, 2011 at 8:31 am

This looks like a great vegetable dish to make any day of the year. I bet my kids will love it.

My childhood memories of my family hosting Thanksgiving are similar to yours. It was a mix of immediate family, neighbors, close friends, and friends-of-friends who needed a place to go. It was always a large, eclectic, lively group; and since it was pot-luck, the side dishes changed every year. It was a wonderful experience to have as kid.

2 formerchef November 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Thanks Myra, that’s exactly why I love Thanksgiving.

3 Mary November 14, 2011 at 11:56 am

These are wonderful and would be perfect for a holiday dinner. They would disappear quickly from my table. I am new to your blog, so I took some time to browse through your earlier posts. I’m so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

4 formerchef November 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Thanks Mary, welcome to Former Chef! 🙂

5 Jenn @LeftoverQueen November 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Wow, these look so beautiful!

6 Anne @ Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy November 15, 2011 at 4:32 am

I’ve never heard of boiled cider – I’m going to have to check that out! And I pinned this recipe:)

7 Lisa November 15, 2011 at 11:00 am

It was fun learning about your childhood memories on thanksgiving. It made me remember mine as well. I like the recipe. My elder sister was the one responsible for making me appreciate carrots. Everyone will love what I got in stored for them.

8 sippitysup November 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

Carrots are mandatory at mt TDay. I guess because my mom always made them. GREG

9 Liz November 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm

This looks like an easy and delicious recipe that would work as the perfect side dish for thanksgiving.

10 angela@spinachtiger November 28, 2011 at 7:30 am

Carrots are an an often overlooked side dish, but simple is often the best.

11 matt December 4, 2011 at 10:54 am

I am not a carrot guy at all but I must admit that these are mouth watering. My wife made these and I was hesitant to try them because I don’t care for carrots but they were so good. I looked at the recipe and they are so easy to make. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us all.

12 Kate December 23, 2011 at 7:22 am

We loved this recipe!
Thanks for posting it. I made the cider syrup, too. (though I almost boiled it to candy!)
I didn’t have fresh Rosemary, but did have some I dried myself this summer. It worked; though I know fresh would have been much better.

13 formerchef December 23, 2011 at 7:24 am

Thanks so much for letting me know Kate!

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