Thursday, November 21, 2013

Julia Child's Carottes Vichy (Vichy Carrots)

When I first moved to California at twenty-one, I was overwhelmed with how far away I was from my family and friends in Florida: basically, my whole world. This was most keenly felt on Thanksgiving, when Will and I didn't have the time or money to make the long trip home. So, a few days before Thanksgiving, I bought everything I needed to make my first Thanksgiving dinner for the two of us.

Then, the day before Thanksgiving, Will told me we were invited to join our new friends, Jack and Sandra, for Thanksgiving dinner at their apartment. Others who were unable to go home for the holiday would be there as well.

Well, that sounded great! We wouldn't have a lonely Thanksgiving after all.

Then I remembered the turkey already brining in the fridge, the pie dough that had already been made, and the other expensive and perishable ingredients that had already been bought... When Will explained this to Jack, the simple solution was to bring it all with us. After all, when is there too much food at Thanksgiving?

So the feast became movable and a tradition was born.

Thanksgiving 2007: My first turkey -- a success! My first time carving a bird -- not so much...

The tradition of gathering friends together every Thanksgiving is one of my fondest memories of our time in California. The cast of characters changed year to year, depending on who was in town, but Jack and Sandra were always our constants.

Thanksgiving 2007: Sandra dishing out pumpkin pie

On the last year we had this tradition together, before we all started to move away, I happened to make Julia Child's Carottes Vichy for the first time. Sandra absolutely loved these carrots, and now I can't help but associate this dish with her. Whenever I make them, it brings back fond memories of our past Thanksgiving tradition and our good friends who are now in Atlanta.

Easy to make, these carrots -- so delightful in their buttery, slightly sweet glaze -- definitely deserve a place at your Thanksgiving table. Who knows, they could even become an unexpected tradition!
Carottes Vichy (Vichy Carrots)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1
Vichy refers to the naturally effervescent mineral water from the springs of Vichy, France. If you can't find this or don't want to buy it, Julia says you can use "plain bottled water with a pinch of soda" as a substitute. The first time I made this, I had club soda laying around for holiday mixed drinks and decided to use that. It worked, so I've used it ever since.
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 30-40
1 1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut on the bias (about 5 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups sparkling mineral water or club soda
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of finely ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, very finely minced
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine carrots, sparkling water, sugar, pepper, and butter; bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover, and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy glaze.
Adjust seasoning to taste and gently stir in parsley. Serve hot.
-Carefully watch the carrots towards the end of their cooking time. They seem to go from having quite a bit of liquid to having the perfect glaze rather fast. This last time they were perfect at the 34 minute mark.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's one of my favorite memories from my time in California! :)