Bon Appétit (November 2014)
Different rules apply when you're having a Fakesgiving vs. a Thanksgiving.
At a real-deal Thanksgiving, you have people to please, traditions to uphold, and cranky relatives to remind you that your stuffing does not taste like grandma's.
But at Fakesgiving, you can take risks. You can serve whatever you want, and you can make dishes that are way outside your T-day comfort zone.
The November Bon Appétit has a bit of advice along those lines: "If you're going to get creative, do it with the veggies."
And Bon App definitely did get creative. The Thanksgiving side dishes they featured this year were really appealing to us: beets with seasame and marjoram; broccolini with rye breadcrumbs; and a dish of crispy sunchockes.
We didn't make those dishes, but we zeroed in on a few others, including these Harissa-and-Maple-Roasted Carrots.
We were pumped about these carrots. We love all things harissa -- its spicy heat always adds great flavor to vegetables. We were especially intrigued by the idea of combining it with a sweet flavor like maple for a Thanksgiving dish.
But the end result was a bit disappointing. They're perfectly fine roasted carrots, but both the harissa and the maple got lost in the oven, and the dish never really caramelized.
If we made the carrots again, we'd double the amount of both the harissa and maple.
We would also likely peel the carrots. The recipe doesn't call for it, so we simply scrubbed the carrots clean. Some of our guest, however, found the texture of the unpeeled carrots unappealing. (Aren't you glad we didn't say "unapeeling"?)
Other than the promising idea of combining harissa and maple, there's one aspect of this dish we will definitely take with us in the future, and you should too: Rainbow carrots. They're so beautiful! Seriously, even if you're just roasting carrots in butter or oil, with some salt, a pan of rainbow carrots is so pretty and gourmet compared to plain ol' orange ones.
In fact, let's take a quick digression here. Do you know why carrots are orange? Politics. Carrots originally were either purple or white or red, but Dutch growers in the 17th century are thought to have cultivated orange-colored carrots as a tribute to William of Orange, who led the fight for Dutch independence in the 1600s. As the Dutch gained power, orange became the de facto carrot color. Isn't that interesting??
Nowadays, thanks to renewed interests in heritage farming -- as well as the fact that orange carrots are super boring -- you can find multi-hued carrots more frequently. We've seen them at Whole Foods, and we regularly see purple carrots at the farmers market. We picked up the ones for this recipe at Trader Joe's, for the same price as orange ones.
There's no denying: these multi-colored carrots, freshly out of the oven, are darn beautiful on the Thanksgiving table.
Just be sure to amp up the flavor.
>> Read the full Thanksgiving 2014 recipe index
>> Read about this year's biggest Thanksgiving trends
Bon Appétit (November 2014), recipe by Alison Roman
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Nutritional Information available at BonAppetit.com
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon harissa paste
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2½ pounds small rainbow carrots, scrubbed, tops trimmed to about ½”, halved
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
Preheat oven to 450°. Whisk garlic, oil, maple syrup, harissa, and cumin seeds in a small bowl; season garlic mixture with salt and pepper.
Toss carrots and lemon with garlic mixture in a large roasting pan to coat; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until carrots are tender and lemons are caramelized, 35–40 minutes.
DO AHEAD: Carrots can be roasted 6 hours ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature or reheat slightly before serving.