If you're lucky enough to get carrots with their tops, use the extra leaves to make pesto, or wilt them like spinach or mustard leaves. They have a mild herby flavour, like parsley. Here the carrot tops are cooked with turmeric and dried limes to make a fragrant stew to serve with roast carrots.
carrot top stew with roast carrots and sliced baby beetroot
· 1 bunch of carrots with their leaves/tops
· 1 large white onion
· 4-6 garlic cloves (or equivalent frozen). Minced, diced or finely sliced.
· Chilli flakes (optional)
· Dried lime (or black lime)
· Bay leaves
· Stock powder
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
2. Separate the carrots from the tops. Wash the carrots, or peel them, if they are too dirty.
3. Top and tail the carrots and add to a small baking tray. Drizzle with vegetable or olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Thyme sprigs or garlic cloves can be added for extra flavour.
4. Roast for 30-40mins, or until soft and browned. This will take as long as the stew takes to cook.
5. For the stew, thinly slice the white onion (as thin as possible, so it cooks quicker). Add to a small saucepan with some oil (about 1-2 tbsp) and a pinch of salt.
6. Cook the onion on a low heat until they are soft then increase the heat. Cook for around 20 minutes in total until they are completely soft and slightly sticky. They should be sweet and slightly caramelized.
7. Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic and cook until the raw smell and taste has gone. Lower the heat so it doesn’t burn.
8. Stir in 1 tsp of turmeric (or saffron can be used here instead, if you have it) and a pinch of chilli flakes (about 1/2tsp depending on how hot you like it. More can always be added later).
9. Roughly chop the washed carrot tops and add to the onions. Cover with cold water, until all the leaves are submerged (about 500/750ml). Add 2 bay leaves and 2-3 dried limes (carefully pierce them with the tip of a knife).
10. Also add 2 tsp of stock powder or a stock cube.
11. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10minutes with the lid on. The carrot tops will become dark green and wilted.
12. Cook for another 10minutes to reduce the liquid.
13. The dried limes should be soft by now, so carefully squeeze them using a wooden spoon to release and liquid from inside and to get out more flavour.
14. Taste the sauce, it should be slightly tangy and sour from the limes. Season with salt and pepper. Fresh lime or lemon can also be added if you like.
15. Remove the bay leaves and limes. Partially or fully blend the sauce with a stick blender to get a more consistent texture.
16. Serve the carrot top stew with roasted carrots. It can also be served with yoghurt or cottage cheese too.
For a slightly quicker stew, use chopped leeks instead of onions. Celery can also be used in addition to the onions. Additional fresh herbs can be added to the stew such as coriander, parsley or fenugreek.