I love beets.
I really like roasted beets—roasted root vegetables, period—as a side dish. I love pickled beets, though I have not yet tried making them. I enjoy borscht. Here, for my future reference, is a compendium of 38 beet recipes from Bon Appétit magazine. Winter and my garden bounty of beets can't come too soon.
|Betanin: the best-studied betalain|
(do you notice the constant beta?
the beet is known formally as
Well, they do have a distressing side effect, if you're not ready for it: red urine and stools. That's thanks to the betalain pigments. Which we do thank (see above). So just be prepared.
When I went to the market to pick up some beets, avocado, red onion, and dill (which I could not find, so fennel will substitute) for the recipe, the young checker looked at the three red balls attached to the long green and red leaves and said, "Huh, so that's what a beet looks like?" Not exactly: the harvesters/bundlers had snipped off the long central root. But close.
Anyway, here's the recipe. Which I will have to finish tomorrow, owing to the cool-down part of the program. Instead, for dinner tonight (David is out rock 'n' rolling) I am having fresh full-grain bread with pickled herring. I'm pretty easy to please!
3/4 lb. beets (4 medium beets, smaller than a tennis ball)
1/4 cup red or sweet onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves
3 small Turkish/Persian cucumbers, sliced
1/2 cup fresh dill
2 Tb sherry vinegar (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh pepper
Garnishes: avocado, diced cucumber, diced beet, finely diced onion, chopped dill, baby nasturtium leaves, olive oil or yogurt of sour cream
1. Place beets in a medium pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer until fork tender all the way through about 45–60 minutes. Chill beets and their cooking liquid. (This step is good to do the night before making the soup.)
2. Once beets are cold, slip off their skins using your hands. Slice and place 3 of the 4 beets in a blender with 2 cups of the cold cooking liquid (or use ice water, or cold veggie stock). Add half of the chopped onion, the 2 garlic cloves, 2 of the sliced Turkish cucmbers, salt, pepper, vinegar, and about 2/3 of the fresh dill (saving some for garnish. Blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust salt and vinegar. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
3. Prep the garnishes. Finely dice remaining beet, cucumber, avocado, and chop the remaining dill. Pour chilled beet soup (the colder it is, the better) into bowls. Top with the garnishes. Optional: drizzle with a little olive oil or a swirl of yogurt or sour cream. Serve immediately.
Cooking time: 45+ minutes plus cooling-down time. Prep time: 20 minutes.