Published November 1, 2010.
Roasting carrots draws out their natural sugars and intensifies their flavor—if you can prevent them from shriveling up like used matches.
Most of the time, roasted carrots come out dry, shriveled, and jerkylike.
We wanted tender, creamy, and deeply sweet carrots that could earn a place on our dinner table—and a simple roasting technique to get them there.
First, we experimented with shapes. Cutting the carrots into identical-size batons gave us the most even cooking and the best browning.
Carrots contain more pectin than any other vegetable, so we decided to try a trick we’d developed to keep pectin-filled apples from turning mushy when baked in pie. For this technique, we precooked the apples long enough for the pectin to convert to a heat-stable form that would protect their interiors against high temperatures. Our research told us that by precooking the carrots, we could trigger the same reaction, but with a different outcome: Stronger cell walls would help keep moisture in, minimizing withering.
Instead of dirtying another pan by precooking the carrots on the stovetop, we decided to precook them right on the baking sheet. We got the oven good and hot, lined the pan with foil (or parchment), buttered and seasoned the carrots, tightly covered the baking sheet with aluminum foil, and cooked them until they resisted slightly when poked with a fork. We then slid the uncovered baking sheet back into the oven until the moisture had burned off and the carrots took on nut-brown caramelized streaks. At last, these carrots were tender-firm and distinctly sweet, with minimal withering.list of recipes