One of the things about having a cooking column in the newspaper is that I’m always on the lookout for new foods, new techniques, and new ideas. Those columns don’t write themselves!
This morning, a recipe for “Pulled BBQ Carrots” popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook. Here’s the link to it. It looked okay, but I was unconvinced that it would blow me away. For one thing, “pulled” barbecue is a certain thing, and carrots ain’t it. For another, I lived through the “let’s grill everything” fad already, and was never really caught up in that.
But l had a day off and some old carrots in the crisper, so I thought I would give barbecued carrots a try. I stayed as close to the recipe as I could, because I’m always looking for vegan treats. But I don’t like onions, and the recipe seemed a little light on seasoning, so l switched it up. It turned out pretty great, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be a hit when l serve it to my friends.
You will need a pound or more of peeled and shredded carrots, a little oil, some powdered onion, garlic, cumin, pepper, and salt (This is to taste, but l started with about a half teaspoon of each and added more until l liked it.. Mix it together and let it rest.
Preheat the oven to 375. I put my large cast iron skillet in to get hot, too. Once the pan is hot, add about a tablespoon of oil. Spread the shredded carrot in the pan, sprinkle a little more oil on top, and pop it into the oven.
Every ten minutes or so, stir up the carrots until they look done. Mine caramelized and looked right after a half hour. Here’s what it looked like:
At this point, l think this would be an excellent side dish as is. The taste is complex, smoky, and savory. l would serve this with beef or pork any day of the week!
But the original recipe called for barbecue sauce to make it a sandwich. So I gave it a try.
I took a tablespoon of the carrots and mixed just a tiny bit of sauce, put it on a cracker and covered it with a little coleslaw.
The result is a wonderful little barbecue-flavored treat that even meat eaters would enjoy — and something to serve vegans and vegetarians that complements a traditional barbecue menu. I have eaten it as a sandwich, too. But that little bit on a cracker is surprisingly satisfying — and topping it with coleslaw just hits it out of the park.
Try it, you’ll like it!