These pickled carrots are a condiment rather than a side dish. They are very strongly flavored, so they are usually eaten in small amounts alongside the main dish.
Oftentimes a can or jar of pickled jalapeño peppers will include a slice or two of carrot. As these slices are so popular (they frequently get fought over), the canning companies began producing cans of the carrots themselves. Even if you can find the commercial product where you live, I encourage you to make your own, as these carrots are even better tasting when they are homemade.
Spicy pickled carrots add a wonderful zing of flavor to almost any dish. Put them on the table whenever you serve a grilled or plain(ish) meat, or use them to add interest to sandwiches, hamburgers, pizza, tacos, quesadillas, tortas, or scrambled eggs.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and diced
- 2 pounds (900 grams) large carrots, peeled and cut into slices about ¼ inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups vinegar
- 8 whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 whole bay leaves
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cups sliced pickled jalapeño peppers (purchased or homemade)
Heat oil in a large saucepan and saute the garlic.
Add carrots and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Carefully add the vinegar, peppercorns, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add water and jalapeños and bring to a simmer again for another 5 or 10 minutes. (Carrots should be barely cooked and not soft.)
Turn the heat off and let your spicy carrots cool completely.
Transfer the carrots and cooking liquid into a covered glass container (such as a jar) and refrigerate overnight.
Store the carrots in the liquid, refrigerated, and use a spoon to serve them. They keep well for at least a couple of weeks.
Use carrots and liquid, quantity to taste, on any savory food.
Note: All the ingredients in this recipe are edible except the bay leaves. You can leave the leaves in the jar for flavor, but do not eat them.
Variations on Spicy Pickled Carrots
- Don’t hesitate to substitute some (or all) of the carrots with other barely-cooked vegetables: pieces of cauliflower, sliced zucchini or other summer squash, green beans, chayotes, tiny ears of corn (“baby” corn), tiny onions, etc.
- Include a tablespoon or so of dried oregano. Add it at the same time as—or in place of—the bay leaves.
- For even spicier carrots, use pickled serrano pepper slices in place of jalapeños.
Edited by Robin Grose