By Gail Gordon Oliver

I developed this recipe just before heading into production of this issue of Edible Toronto. Glazed carrots have played a role in my husband Steven’s birthday dinners since he was a kid (alongside the requisite standing rib roast, roasted potatoes, and some sort of chocolate dessert). His mother and I have never been permitted to deviate from this birthday dinner. My culinary creations do deviate from year to year, however, in the ways I prepare those carrots, potatoes and chocolate desserts. This is my latest carrot recipe, in which the carrots cook while absorbing the wonderful flavours of the sauce. The prunes, although you can leave them out, do provide a lot of flavour as they melt down, and they also serve to thicken the mixture. The bourbon gives a little extra je ne sais quoi. If you have any leftover sauce, add some more vinegar, a few spices, and you’ll have one heck of a good maple bourbon barbecue sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

8 to 10 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths

6 pitted prunes (optional)

1 cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade no. 3 (dark)

1 cup water

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil

3/4 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp bourbon or other whisky, plus more if desired (optional)

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Photo by Gail Gordon Oliver

In a large, heavy saucepan, add the carrots, prunes, maple syrup, water, vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cook uncovered at a steady boil, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the liquid is very dark and has reduced to a thick, syrupy consistency, about 1 hour. Stir in the bourbon, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings, as needed.
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