Philacatessen | Balsamic-Roasted Carrots

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As fall arrives (finally) and the season’s harvest begins to appear in markets and grocery stores, our natural tendency toward comfort foods and warmer, heartier dishes takes hold.

This means stews and soups and casseroles, but it also can mean treating vegetables in a more autumnal style. No, I’m not suggesting you dress them up in a cashmere sweater, but rather that you consider slower, deeper preparations.

Instead of tossing them raw in a salad, or steaming them quickly, or flashing them on the grill like we do with summer’s bounty, autumn’s vegetables perform beautifully with a slow (or not-so-slow) roasting approach.

These carrots were inspired by a dish I enjoyed at Walnut Street Café recently; theirs were char-roasted with honey.

In this recipe, I skipped the honey and instead used balsamic vinegar. The results were terrific — the dish complemented our marinated chicken nicely, and I had the leftovers cold for lunch the following day. I was fortunate enough to find a bunch of red, yellow and orange carrots at my local market, but regular old grocery store bagged carrots would work just fine.

Balsamic-Roasted Carrots

Serves four

1 pound carrots cut as desired (I like unpeeled spears)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

Generous sprinkling of fresh ground pepper

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Toss all the ingredients in a baking dish.

Roast the carrots for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until they begin to char.

Serve hot or at room temperature. The leftovers, if you have any, are wonderful in a salad the next day.

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