Suet Saga & Glazed Carrots

by brookefiore

The original – now missing – suet feeder

About six weeks ago I embarked on a homemade suet journey. Intrigued by the idea of creating an energy dense source of food for the birds and the limited upkeep I gave it a whirl on Columbus Day weekend. Yes, the whole weekend involved rendering beef suet. Perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it felt like I had spent the majority of my time rendering, filtering, and finally molding the suet cakes. It was less than 24 hours before some outdoor creatures discovered the suet, opened the cage and ran off with the store-bought cake that was in the second cage. I returned to the hardware store to buy zip ties to keep the cages closed and found a new hanging spot. I stood back admiring my ability to out smart the squirrels and raccoons and said “If they want the suet they are going to have to haul off the entire feeder, copper pole and all.

The new feeder in its new location

I awoke the next morning and I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, the pole, feeder and both suet cakes were gone. I ran out onto the deck searching the surrounding yard but there was no sign my feeder, or the pole it hung from which had been ripped from its bolts that had once secured it to the deck.

 With some encouragement and some time I have once again hung a suet feeder for my birds. The weather is getting colder, the days shorter, and the suet feeder always had the set-it-and-forget-it appeal to me. The seed-filled feeder requires frequent re-filling and I wanted a back up source of energy on the days that I return home from work too focused on feeding myself than to remember my feathered friends.

 

 Especially when returning home means walking into “Brooke, do that thing with the carrots!” The beef was in the oven, but the vegetable side dish apparently hadn’t been decided on. Luckily, this dish is pretty simple and one of the only times I will willingly eat cooked carrots.

 ‘The thing with the carrots’ she was referring to was a recipe I had tried out during the summer. It includes just four ingredients total and the cleanup is minimal. I usually prefer carrots raw, mushy cooked carrots just don’t have the same appeal so I was originally hesitant to try this recipe out. The key is the short cooking time, just 12 minutes and a few extra to let the cooking liquid reduce down to a syrup and you will have flavorful cooked carrots with just a hint of sweet and savory. The sweetness is courtesy of light brown sugar and the savory from fresh parsley. If you don’t have parsley, chives work too.

If you’re looking for another side dish for the Thanksgiving menu this might just be your match!

 Glazed Carrots

Serves 4

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

1 to 1 1/2 pounds of carrots (about 8 peeled and sliced about two inches long on the diagonal or  1 bag of baby carrots sliced lengthwise on the diagonal)

2 TBSP unsalted butter

1 1/2 TBSP light brown sugar

1 1/2 TBSP chopped parsley

 a dash of salt

 Place the sliced carrots in a 10inch skillet forming a single layer. Add enough water to come about halfway up the sides of the carrots (a little less than 1 cup). Add the sugar, salt, and butter and cook uncovered over high heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-high and cover, leaving the cover slightly askew to allow for some steam to escape and cook for 12 minutes. Swirl the skillet several times during cooking to cover the carrots in the glaze. After 12 minutes, remove the cover and allow the liquid to evaporate and form a thick syrup, remove from heat once liquid has evaporated and toss with fresh parsley before serving. Add additional salt to taste if desired and serve warm.

 

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