Side dish, Sous vide
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Simple Sous Vide Carrots

Why do I cook sous vide? Because I can trade time for effort. Sous vide carrots are a perfect example. They’re easy – peel the carrots, seal the carrots, drop them in a water bath. When they’re done, cut the bag open and serve.

But, they’re also slow; the carrots need an hour in a (very hot) water bath. I don’t mind the trade-off. When I’m working on dinner, the hard part is the last part – getting everything finished and on the table. “Cut the bag open and dump on a platter” is what I’m looking for in a side dish.

Carrots cook at a very high temperature for sous vide – 185°F. We want to gelatinize the starch, resulting in firm but tender carrots. Unfortunately, that temperature is much higher than we want to cook meat sous vide, so we can’t cook the main course at the same time as these carrots. I have a few strategies for dealing with this:

  1. I run two sous vide water baths at the same time, one for the vegetables, and one for the protein. (Yes, I have multiple sous vide water baths. I have a cooking gadget problem.)
  2. I use one water bath, sequentially, from highest temperature to lowest. I cook the carrots first, 185°F for an hour. Then I drop the sous vide temperature to meat cooking levels (let’s say 136°F), and add ice to the water bath to cool it down. The meat goes in the water with the carrots – the carrots stay warm in the water bath while the meat cooks.
  3. I don’t cook the main course sous vide. Sous vide – it’s not just for meat any more!

Recipe: Simple Sous Vide Carrots

Simple Sous Vide Carrots

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Sous Vide Glazed Carrots, SeriousEats.com

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots, medium width (Halve any carrots thicker than 1 1/2 inches)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

1. Sous vide the carrots

Peel the carrots, put them in a the vacuum pouch, sprinkle with salt, add the butter, and vacuum seal the bag. Sous vide the carrots at 185°F/85°C for 1 hour.

2. Serve

Cut open the bag, and use tongs to move the carrots to a platter. Drizzle a tablespoon of the butter and carrot juices in the bag over the top of the carrots and serve.

Notes

  • It takes a while to heat the sous vide water bath to 185°F – leave yourself some extra time.
  • Don’t feel like vacuum sealing? Use the displacement method. Put everything in a zip-top bag and s-l-o-w-l-y lower it into the water, squeezing out all the air. Seal the zip top and drop the bag in the water.
  • PolyScience was kind enough to send me one of their Creative series immersion circulators for testing. I’m enjoying it, and I really love the huge 18 liter polycarbonate tank with the custom cut lid that the circulator fits through. No evaporation here!
  • You don’t have to buy multi-color carrots like I did – normal, orange carrots taste great cooked this way. But…look at those colors!

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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3 Comments

  1. To save time (and arguably energy) I use an electric kettle to get my water more quickly to temp.

  2. Autumn says

    A slow cooker on low with the lid offset holds very close to 185. Radishes respond well to similar treatment too!

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