It is only recently that I have gotten really into serving roast vegetables as the focal point of a meal. Something I wish I had done more when I was at uni. Its a real money saver!
I don’t know about you, but I’m rather a fan of roast carrot. Possibly because my association with roast veg reminds me of roast chicken. One of my favourite meals. Bar none!
Mustard and honey, thyme and olive oil, garlic and paprika are all fine condiments and spices to smother carrots in, but my new favourite for roasting is definitely molasses… It works particularly well with carrots and beetroot*. Maybe even the odd sweet potato, if you are partial to it…
This dish is a rather pretty plate, but I have to be honest I am not really sure whether it works better as a starter or a side dish. I decided to plate it up as a starter but you could just as easily throw all the ingredients together in a serving bowl and serve them up alongside your sunday roast.
I used little baby chantenay carrots for this, but you could easily use the regular variety, chopped up into thick (2-inch rings). Also feel free to switch the smoked garlic for plain garlic, or swap the spelt for any other grains, such as Pearl Barley or Bulgar. if you prefer. In fact Merchant Gourmet do a really good bag of pre-cooked bag of ‘mixed grains’ which would work nicely as a substitute. For other ways of cooking Pearled grains check out my Pearl Barley Risotto with Dates, Hazelnuts and Squash.
*A tip for cooking beetroot is to roast it cut in quarters wrapped in foil. It prevents the to leathery dried out effect. Remove the foil when you add the molasses glaze. Beautiful.
- 500g Baby Carrots
- 2 tbs Olive oil
- 1 tsp molasses
- 2 tsps Honey
- 100g cooked Pearled Spelt (or pearled barley) – fried in 1 tbs olive oil
- 2-3 tbs chopped Parsley
- Parmesan, Manchego or Baby Mozzarella, to serve
- 2 tbs Olive Oil
- 1 tbs Balsamic Vinegar
- a squeeze Lemon
- 3 cloves roasted Smoked Garlic
- Salt and Pepper
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius
Put the Carrots and Garlic in a baking tray. Drizzle over 1 tbs Olive oil and season with salt and fresh black pepper. Toss the Carrots in the pan to ensure they are evenly coated in the oil. Add the baking tray to the oven and cook the Carrots for 20 minutes.
Mix the Molasses and Honey in a bowl, add a little hot water if needed to loosen. (No more than 1 tbs though) Remove the Carrots from the oven and add the Molasses and Honey to the baking dish. Toss the Carrots in the pan so they are evenly coated in the sticky mixture. Return the Carrots to the oven for a further 15 mins.
Whilst the Carrots are in the oven for the last 15 minutes, add the Spelt to a frying pan with a tablespoon of Olive Oil and heat through, for five minutes. Squeeze the soft Garlic out of the outer skins and add to a bowl with the remaining dressing ingredients. Mix well and season to taste.
Arrange the Spelt on the plate, add the Carrots, Dressing, Parmesan and fresh Parsley
*A note on Pearled Barley/ Spelt. Make sure it is properly cooked and drained, if you do cook it yourself. I like to cook mine in stock. Half a chicken stock cube should do the job. As a rule of thumb, Pearled Spelt can be cooked exactly like rice. Rinse well and boil for 20 minutes, just cover it in a pan with an inch of water. Put the lid on the saucepan and simmer low and slow.
Look at that smokey garlic dressing….yuuuuum. All that is needed is a little something to garnish.
Ah yes! A bit of green…