I think beetroots are one of those divisive vegetables, like brussel sprouts and cauliflower. If you like them you love them, if you don’t like them they are the food of the devil.
Mum planted beetroots this winter for reasons I’m not sure of, primarily because she doesn’t eat them. And I must confess that as I saw them growing I thought, what the hell am I going to do with all those beets.
Then this book entered my life. I’d already bought Food52’s baking book from which I want to make every single recipe (the magic espresso brownies are amazing) so I held out high hopes for Genius Recipes. It’s premise is 100 legendary recipes for chefs, cooks, bloggers and cookbook authors and it does not disappoint.
So, this week’s Tuesday #everyfuckingnight was tacos which I just can’t come at. Mum had picked me about 8 of the beetroots and my plan was hatched.
What I loved about this recipe was its simplicity. My beets didn’t take as long as the recipe said, probably due to their size, but I just sped the process up and they worked an absolute treat. Mine also turned out a more deep maroon than that black purple we expect from beetroots but again, probably due to the variety that we’d grown.
So look, follow what’s below, but trust your gut. You can lift the lid during the simmering stage and check their done-ness, muck around with the heat when reducing the liquid to a consistency you like. It can be more saucy or more syrupy, just make sure you do leave enough to coat the beets and any leaves you add to them.
The recipe says to add the beetroot leaves at the end but these fall into the category of kale for me and taste like balls so I’d sooner mix through some baby English spinach leaves and rocket than that metallic nonsense.
Finally, I took a little punt based on Maggie Beer in her remarkable tome Maggie’s Harvest and at the very end added a little more butter, some dijon (about 1/4-1/2tsp), balsamic and more finely chopped fresh tarragon just to liven the flavours.
It’s all really quite straightforward with the result being a complete show-pony of a dish. Giddyup!
- 4-5 fresh beetroots, trimmed and scrubbed and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size (I used 8 smallish ones)
- 1 medium sized red onion, sliced into crescents
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
- thumbnail sized nob of butter
- ¼-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- dash balsamic vinegar
- more freshly chopped thyme
- greens (I like using rocket)
- goats cheese
- walnuts, toasted
- Put everything into a heavy based fry pan (you want the beetroots to be relatively tightly packed in a single layer)
- Pour in enough water to just cover the beetroots
- Bring to the boil
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes (feel free to check as time passes as they might cook more quickly, depending on their size) or until the beets are nearly tender (I judge this as when you stick in a skewer there's still a bit of resistance
- Raise the heat again and boil uncovered until the liquid has reduced right down to a syrup and the beetroots are tender
- If you're going the optional extra, make a little space inbetween the beets, add the extra ingredients and mix until dissolved/melted, then toss through the whole dish
- Season with the salt and pepper
- Serve tossed with the salad greens, dot over little pieces of the goats cheese and sprinkle with walnuts
- Add some wedges of pear if their in season or you really want to be fancy