These are not your grandma’s glazed heirloom carrots. No. These lightly spiced Moroccan carrots, tossed with Ras el hanout spice mix, plumped golden raisins and crunchy toasted pine nuts are a deliciously different side dish. I used my sous vide machine for these sous vide carrots. This method locks in the natural sweetness of the root vegetable and yields perfectly crisp tender carrots. If you don’t have a sous vide, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered with a roasted version that yields concentrated flavors and a caramelized finish.
Moroccan Carrots for fall & winter
If you’re looking for a departure from your standard fall and winter side dish, you’ll love these heirloom carrots seasoned with the popular tongue- tingling Moroccan spice mix, ras el hanout. They’re fork tender, but not soft, spiced, but not overdone and the sweet, plumped golden raisins and buttery toasted pine nuts add texture and interest to this side dish. I used a mixture of multi-colored heirloom carrots for visual appeal.
Sous vide – what’s that?
Sous vide literally translates as “under vacuum” in French. It’s a method of cooking vacuum sealed food in a water bath that’s slow and deliberate, with the ability to calibrate and hold any food at an exact cooking temperature and NEVER over-cooking it. If you’ve ever had a piece of over-cooked steak, you can see the benefit of cooking it to your perfect doneness without fear of going beyond. Check out this Bon Appetit piece on the benefits of sous vide cooking.
Why sous vide carrots?
So you might wonder why you’d want to sous vide a vegetable. Well, it’s very much for the same reasons as the steak. Perfect cooking, doneness and this method seals in the natural flavors of the vegetable, letting their subtle nuances shine. Carrots prepared sous vide are sweet and tender, but with a little snap and if you’ve ever had over-cooked mushy carrots or other veg, you know how unpleasant they can be. The precision you get from sous vide cooking will give even the most novice cooks confidence.
Ras el hanout is a common spice blend in North African Arabic cooking. Cooks throughout Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco have their own preferred blend, but most ingredients in ras el hanout spice mix are standard.
Ras el hanout spice ingredients
- Ground Ginger
- Salt & Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
How do ras el hanout carrots taste?
This zippy spice mix is often used in tagines and stews to add a woodsy, bitter, warm spice that dances across your tongue. With the sweet, sous vide carrots, it’s especially good. If you have a store-bought Moroccan blend, you can use it, otherwise, use the ras el hanout recipe provided. Note: you’ll have extra spice mix, which makes a great rub on chicken or pork or mixed with rice in a pilaf.
How to cook Moroccan carrots
- Set up the water bath with the sous vide immersion circulator and set the temperature for 185° F or 85° C.
- While the sous vide comes to temperature, peel the carrots and place them on a small sheet pan.
- Mix the Ras El Hanout spice mix, salt and olive oil together and drizzle over the carrots. Toss them with your hands until the carrots are coated with the spices.
- Transfer the carrots and golden raisins to a vacuum seal bag or plastic zip top bag and spread into a single layer. Top with the butter.
- Remove the air from the bag using your vacuum sealer, or close the bag 90% of the way and submerge the bag in water, almost up to the zip top portion – this will force air out of the bag. When most of the air has been removed, seal the bag.
- Transfer the carrots to the sous vide bath and weight them down to keep them submerged. Cook for an hour.
If you don’t have a sous vide
If you don’t have a sous vide machine yet, you can roast Moroccan carrots in the oven. It won’t be exactly the same, but roasting concentrates the flavors and has the added bonus of caramelizing the exterior. Roasting instructions are located in the recipe card, below.
Finishing sous vide heirloom carrots
When the Moroccan style carrots are done cooking and have achieved a firm, tender consistency, transfer them to a serving dish and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and fresh cilantro leaves.
My husband abhors mushy vegetables. It’s a trauma going back to his childhood and I’m keenly aware of his aversion. Cooking carrots and vegetables sous vide ensures that he’ll never get mushy veg. The spiced carrots with sweet raisins and lightly toasted pine nut crunch is earthy tingly and slightly sweet. All in all, a winner.
What to serve with Moroccan carrots:
- Brined Grilled Pork Chops
- Turmeric Pearl Couscous
- Homemade Rotisserie Chicken
- Basmati Rice with Roasted Fall Vegetables
Sous Vide Carrots
- Sous Vide Machine
FOR RAS EL HANOUT SPICE MIX:
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 pound carrots (abour 3/4" diameter) preferably multiple colors
- 2 teaspoons Ras-El-Hanout
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
SET UP THE IMMERSION CIRCULATOR
- Fill the storage receptacle with water to above the minimum fill line for your immersion circulator. Preheat the temperature to 185°.
PREPARE THE RAS-EL-HANOUT SPICE MIX
- In a small bowl combine the cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne, allspice, turmeric, cloves. Stir to combine.
FOR SOUS VIDE CARROTS:
- Peel the carrots and transfer to a sheet pan. Mix together 2 teaspoons of Ras-El-Hanout, salt and the olive oil. Drizzle over the carrots and toss together until the carrots are well-coated.
- Transfer the carrots to the cooking bag with the golden raisins and spread into a single layer. Add the pat of butter to the top of the carrots and vacuum seal the bag per your machine's instructions.
- Submerge the bag in the preheated water (weighing it down, so that it stays submerged) and cook for 1 hour. Carrots should be firm but tender. If they're still hard, cook them for another 15 minutes.
- Transfer the carrots, raisins and their sauce to a serving dish. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and cilantro. Serve.
FOR OVEN ROASTED CARROTS:
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Place raisins in a small bowl and cover them with hot water for 5 minute to plump. Drain the raisins well and pat dry. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and toss to coat.
- Place peeled carrots on a rimmed sheet pan and drizzle with the ras el hanout oil mixture. Toss to coat the carrots and spread in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes, rolling the carrots once or twice for even cooking. Add the plumped raisins to the carrots and toss to coat with spice mixture. Cook for 5 more minutes or until carrots are tender, but not soft.
- Transfer the carrots to a serving plate and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and cilantro leaves. Serve.