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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- I don’t cook the main course sous vide. Sous vide – it’s not just for meat any more!
Simple Sous Vide Carrots – tender carrots cooked sous vide
Adapted from: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Sous Vide Glazed Carrots, SeriousEats.com
- 1 pound carrots, medium width (Halve any carrots thicker than 1 1/2 inches)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Sous vide the carrots: Peel the carrots, put them in a 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 (up to 3 hours max).
- Serve: Cut open the bag and, using tongs, move the carrots to a platter. Drizzle a tablespoon of the butter and carrot juices from the bag over the top of the carrots. Serve.
- It takes a while to heat the sous vide water bath to 185°F. (That’s a lot of water to heat up.) Start with the hottest water you can get from your tap, and start the sous vide circulator ASAP.
- 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 into the water.
- PolyScience was kind enough to send me one of their Creative series immersion circulators for testing. I’m enjoying it, and I love the huge 18-liter polycarbonate tank with the custom cut lid that the circulator fits through.
- You don’t have to buy multi-color carrots as I did – normal, orange carrots taste great cooked this way. But…look at those colors!
- Sous vide water bath setup (I used a PolyScience Creative Series immersion circulator)
- Vacuum Sealer
- Vacuum bags
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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