Beets—Deep, Sweet Roots

These should be called "Rainbow Beets". But they're actually a contrived "genepool", not really a variety, called 3 Root Grex.

We’ve been growing beets forever. But there is no other vegetable that stirs up such strong feelings—people either love them or hate them. Many folks hate them until they try ours. Nearly everyone runs out of ideas about how to eat them, especially if we’re in one of those farm phases where we dole them out week after week. Here are a few of the best tried-and-true recipes I’ve got up my sleeves. Before you decide you are a beet-hater, I urge you to give them a fresh start.

BEET GREEN PASTA
1/4 cup Currants
1 to 2 bunches Beet Greens
1 small bunch Fresh Mint
1 medium Red Onion (or a few salad onions)
1 to 2 cloves Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 pound Dried Pasta, such as rotini, penne, bowties
Salt and Pepper

1. Cover the currants with boiling water, let them soak for 15 minutes, and drain them. While they are soaking, wash the beet greens, strip the leaves from the stems, and cut the leaves into chiffonade. Chop the stems into 2-inch lengths. Stem the mint, wash the leaves and chop into a chiffonade (ribbons).

2. Put on a pot of salted water for the pasta. Peel the onions and the garlic and chop them both fine. Sauté them with the bay leaf over medium heat in 1/8 cup of olive oil for about 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Add the beet leaves and stems and the currants and cook 5 minutes more, covered. Meanwhile, when the water has come to a boil, add the pasta. Uncover the beet greens, season wtih salt and pepper, and add the mint leaves. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss well with the sauce, moistening it with a ladle of the pasta water and the rest of the olive oil. Serve immediately.

STIR-FRIED BEET GREENS WITH GINGER & GREEN CHILES
1-1/2 tbsp. Peanut or Canola Oil
1/2 fresh Hot Green Chile, cut into long, fine slivers
1-1/2 slices Fresh Ginger, cut into long, fine slivers
1/2 pound Beet Greens, cut crosswise into fine ribbons
Dash Salt, or to taste

1. Put the oil in a large pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the chile and ginger. Stir a few times and put in the beet greens. Stir a few times and then cover the pan.

2. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the leaves have wilted. Add the salt and stir a few times. Add 4 tbsp. water, bring to a simmer, and cover.

3. Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the greens are tender. Stir every now and then during this period. Serve with pasta or rice.

BOILED BEETS & BEET GREENS WITH HORSERADISH DRESSING
3 good-sized Beets (about 12 ounces)
8 ounces trimmed Beet Greens
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp. Prepared Horseradish
1/4 tsp. Salt, or to taste
1 very small Garlic Clove, peeled and crushed to a pulp

1. Put the beets to boil in a large pot with water to cover them by several inches. Boil until they are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Prod with the tip of a knife to test doneness. Peel, cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.

2. Bring 12 cups of water to a rolling boil. Drop in the beet greens and boil about 12 minutes or until they are just tender. Drain.

3. Combine the beets and greens in a shallow serving dish. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour the dressing over the beets and greens. Mix gently and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

HARVARD BEETS
2 pounds Beets, well-rinsed
1/2 cup Sugar
5 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/4-cup Fresh Orange Juice
2 tsp. Cornstarch
Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
Grated Zest of 2 Oranges

1. Place the beets in a medium-size saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender—40 to 50 minutes for large beets. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Slip off the skins, and cut the beets into 1/4-inch dice. You should have 4 cups. Set them aside.

2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, orange juice, cornstarch, and salt and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Whisk well and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is clear and thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter and zest, and cook just until the butter has melted.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce over the beets. Toss gently. Serve hot or at room temperature.

HOT OR COLD CREAMY BEET SOUP
3 medium Beets, scrubbed
5 Scallions, green and white parts finely chopped
3 Eggs, hard-cooked and diced
1 medium Cucumber, seeded and diced
4 cups Buttermilk
4 cups Whole Milk
1 tbsp. Finely Chopped Dill, plus more for garnish
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Place beets in a small raosting pan with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake until easily pierced with a sharp knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on size. Allow beets to cool slightly, then run under cold water and slip off their skins.

3. Grate the beets into a large pot. Add the scallions, egs, cucumber, buttermilk, milk, and dill; stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepepr to taste. Serve immediately, or warm over low heat before serving. Garnish with fresh dill if desired.

Good Old Roasted Beets

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2 responses to “Beets—Deep, Sweet Roots

  1. I used to not like beets but now I just love them. Thank you for the recipes. Lucille

  2. The recipes sound great .. can’t wait to try them. I had a ‘salsa’ at a fancy restaurant last year with beets / apples and horse radish. Will be experimenting with that!

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