That' s right....purple carrots! Not a washed out, lilac- tinged purple, but a deep, chocolatey kind of purple. For some reason I expected these carrots to taste dark and bitter, but they are surprisingly sweet and, well-- carrotty.
Rachael from SLO Veg tells me, "The Organic purple carrots from LeForte Organic Crops ~ Farmer Roberto Le-Forte are some of my favorites." He can be found a tree the SLO Farmers Markets on Thursdays and Saturdays. I remember seeing a recipe in one of my food magazines around Thanksgiving that featured multi- colored roasted carrots as a side dish. So I knew I could roast them with a little olive oil and coarse salt with good results. But today I have plans for the crock pot: I have all the ingredients on hand to make a Beef and Barley stew.
So I chopped some onions, sliced a few purple and a few orange carrots for good measure, along with a couple of stalks of celery and two cloves of minced garlic and tossed it into the crock. Some beef chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper and coated in flour, browned in a skillet. I measured out 3/4 cups of pearl barley and put it in the crock, then added a couple of teaspoons of chicken boullion and a teaspoon of dried Thyme, along with some salt and some pepper. I poured all the meat on top of that and then added about a quart of water. The recipe also called for tomato paste, but I was out of that ingredient, so I added some ketchup. I also forgot to slice up some mushrooms, because they are still sitting there in the frig. But I did decide to stir in about half the little baggie of salad sprouts, figuring it would add taste and texture. A quick pour of red wine and a can of diced tomatoes rounded out my ingredients and it was ready to cook for the next 8 hours or so.
We left to run our errands in town and when our day was done, we sat down to a nice hot bowl of Beef and Barley stew. It was pretty good! We dressed it up with a loaf fresh French bread and the Balsamic-Herb flavored dipping oil from Mt. Olive, and Hearst Ranch Winery's Cabernet Franc.