Back to the Kitchen: The Magic of the Misunderstood Beet

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Last Sunday, as I walked through the open-air market and perused the abundance of winter fruits, I stumbled upon the misfit — the misunderstood vegetable known as a beet!

Winter root vegetables lack the vibrant shade from the skin, but once peeled the beetroot is magnificent with intense texture and color. Uncooked they are crunchy but the transformation after cooking is smooth and buttery. Here are some facts about beets: Beet greens contain vitamins A and C, and more iron and minerals than spinach. Beetroots are rich in potassium and contain protein, fiber, iron, calcium, phosphate, niacin and vitamins A and C. Whether red or golden, it is said that beets are good for the brain, but I just love the taste.  These recipes serve 4-6 people.



Beet, Lemon, and Ginger Marmalade

1 pound cooked beets combination of red and gold

1/2 tsp salt

Juice and zest of one lemon

1-teaspoon ginger, minced

Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

1/3 cup crystallized ginger, sliced

Peel and coarsely grate the beets, and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Transfer to a tightly capped jar.

Raw Beet Salad

1-pound beets

Juice and zest from 1 large orange

Juice and zest from 1 lemon

1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

5 tablespoon minced mint

1 teaspoon each minced garlic and minced ginger

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets, garlic and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roasted Beet Green Salad

2 bunches beets with greens

4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1/2-teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1/3-cup olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves, minced

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 15-ounce or 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400. Cut greens from beets, leaving about 1 inch of stem attached; reserve about 8 cups greens, lightly packed. Wash and dry the beets. Wrap in foil and roast until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Mash garlic and salt into a paste. Transfer to a large bowl. Add vinegar and whisk to blend. Add oil, oregano and pepper, whisking until blended. Measure out 1 tablespoon and add to the beet wedges; toss to coat. Add beans to the remaining dressing and toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature until ready to use. Meanwhile, bring 2 cups lightly salted water to a boil in a large wide pan. Wash beet greens in several changes of water; trim the stems. Add the greens to boiling water, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, pressing on the greens with the back of a spoon to remove excess moisture. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Add onions and beets to the beans and toss with greens.

Roasted Beet Salad

1 pound beets, washed, steams trimmed 1/2 inch above beetroot

1-tablespoon horseradish

6 Sage leaves, sliced

Pinch salt and pepper

8 ounces goat cheese

Place beet in a tightly covered casserole dish. Pour enough water to cover 1/2 inch at the bottom. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. It is cooked when the skin is slightly wrinkled and removes easily with your fingers. Remove from oven and as soon as they are cool enough to touch, remove skin and cut into about 8 1/4 inch pieces. While still warm mix well with horseradish, sage, salt and pepper. Chill for at least 2 hours. Mix well again. Add the crumbled goat cheese. Mix and serve.

Golden Beet Soup With Walnut Oil

5 pounds large gold beets, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks

2 onions, diced

1 leek, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4-cup honey

Salt and pepper

10 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup Walnut Oil

Walnut oil to drizzle on soup

Chopped chives to garnish

Sautee onions and leeks in olive oil over medium heat. When vegetables begin to caramelize add honey and beets. Cook until honey bubbles. Add chicken stock and simmer until beets are very tender. Add water if liquid reduces too much. Season to taste. Let soup cool slightly and then puree in blender. Re-warm in pan and whisk in Walnut oil. Serve with drizzle of walnut oil and garnish with chives.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Avocado Aioli

1 lemon, halved

12 baby artichokes

1-pound young carrots, tops trimmed to 1 inch

1/2 pound thin green beans

1/2 pound sugar snap peas

12 small red-skinned new potatoes

12 small beets

½ cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Avocado Aioli:

2 ripe Hass avocados (about 1/2 pound each)

2 tablespoons fresh limejuice

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Toss the carrots, green beans, snap peas, potatoes and beets with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes in a pre-heated 400-degree oven Trim the artichoke stems and cut about 1/2 inch off the tops. Remove any tough outer leaves at the base and snip the points from the remaining leaves with scissors. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the artichokes and lemon half’s and boil until tender when pierced, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Meanwhile halve the avocados. Scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash with the limejuice and garlic. Scrape into a food processor and puree. With the machine on, drizzle in the oil. Scrape the puree into a bowl. Fold in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. To serve, arrange the vegetables on a large platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve the aioli in a bowl on the side.

Beet Green and Goat Cheese Pasta

1/4-cup olive oil

1/3-cup pine nuts

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 medium red onions (1 lb), halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 lb beet greens with stems (from about 2 bunches beets), stems cut into 1-inch pieces and leaves cut crosswise into 3-inch-wide pieces, divided

1-cup water, divided

1-pound penne

1 cup golden raisins

1cup pitted brine-cured black olives, coarsely chopped

½ cup pine nuts (for garnish)

½ cup goat cheese for garnish

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet and cook, stirring, until golden. Add onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until most is evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add beet stems, 3/4-cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems begin to soften, about 12 minutes.

Cook penne in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 Tbsp salt for 6 qt water) until al dente. Reserve 1-cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta.

Meanwhile, add raisins, then beet leaves to onion mixture in handfuls, turning each handful with tongs until beet leaves are wilted before adding next batch. Add remaining 1/4-cup water and 1/4-teaspoon salt and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add olives and pasta and cook, tossing and moistening with some of the cooking water as necessary, just until liquid has thickened slightly. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts and goat cheese.

Fusilli With Beets Goat Cheese and Sage

2 pounds beets (red or golden or a combo)

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2-tablespoon olive oil

1-cup chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped

1 pound fusilli pasta

1-cup goat cheese

In the top of a steamer basket steam scrubbed beets until fork tender about 30 minutes. Remove beets and let stand. When cool enough to handle, rub off skin using a paper towel. Slice beets into wedges. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente about 10 minutes. In a large bowl toss beets with garlic olive oil, stock and sage leaves. Drain the pasta and return to pot. Toss pasta with 2/3 the goat cheese reserving the rest for garnish. Add beets mixture and coat well. Divide onto 4-6 plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve immediately.

Chocolate Beet Brownie

1/2-cup butter

8 ounces 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips

4 eggs

1-cup brown sugar (packed)

1-cup applesauce

1-teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cup flour

1/2-teaspoon salt

1/2-teaspoon nutmeg

1-teaspoon cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup cooked beets

1cup finely chopped almonds

Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until light in color and foamy. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until well creamed. Stir in chocolate mixture, followed by applesauce and beets. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking powder and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in almonds. Turn into greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool before cutting into squares.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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