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torakris

Cooking beet roots and greens

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torakris   

OK I don't like beets, I never have but I am trying to, so a friend suggested I try borscht (sp?).

I have never made, nor eaten for a matter of fact, this in my life.

Beets are close to impossible to find in Japan but on my last trip to Costco, I found some, pre-cooked (steamed) and packaged in their juices, beets. They have an expiration date of 9/03 so I figured I have some time to figure out what to do with them. Since they are already cooked I figure roasting in out of the question,

any suggestions?

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jackal10   

You can't really make Borscht from cooked beets.

Borscht is basically a good broth, coloured with the juice from cooking beets in it, and with sweet/sour overtones. Many variants though. Versions go all the way from clear consomme, hot or cold, via creamy soups (thickened with egg yolks) to meaty stews, one pot meals. Sour cream is traditional, or a boiled or fried potato and/or cabbage pirogi if you don't want to mix meat and milk.

You could approximate by liquidising some of the beets and adding the strained result (the liquid, not the solids) to a broth (with or without chunks of meat and vegetables), with a good slug of vinegar and sugar. Add some julienne of the beets if you like, but primarily as decoration. Easy on the sugar, as the beets are quite sweet. May need a balancing amount of salt. Let it simmer a while to take the edge off the vinegar.

Pre-cooked beets are traditionally eaten as a salad ingredient, usually with a fairly sharp vinegar dressing.

Sliced thinly and deep fried they make good root crisps. They can also be roast.


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Beetroot with blackcurrant jelly is a fantastic summer dish

Make up some blackcurrant jelly with half the stipulated water. Slice the beets and layer them in a mould; top up with jelly, leave to set and turn out.

NB must use non-vinegared beets for this one

serve with smoked salmon, horseradish, sour cream and other eastern european accountrements

J

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A Cautionary Tale

I loathe and fear beetroot. About the only time I can remember enjoying it was at the Fat Duck, where it's served as a petit four in the form of a crystallised jelly. Anyway, I decided I'd try to conquer my fear, so last year I tried to make borscht as a starter for a dinner party.

I managed to peel and cook the beets without too much stress, but then the time came to puree the soup. I put the stuff in the blender and switched on, and the hot, sickly sweet, smell, combined with the horrible pink froth as the beets liquidised just made me want to throw up. I had to chuck the whole lot onto the garden, and made a salad instead :shock:

Adam

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Beets are earthy. I peel and dice them, then simmer in fresh squeezed grapefruit juice until done. Uncover and reduce the liquid until it is absorbed. Salt and butter to taste.

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Ruth   

Borscht can be truly delicious. The best version I know originated in Romania and I got it from my Romanian mother-in-law. In addition to raw beets, you will need some baby lamb, dill pickle juice (or lemon juice but the pickle liquid is better), and a big bunch of lovage.

Make a strong broth with lamb bones. Include the breast meat, the head, if you have it, and any other pieces you don't plan to roast.

Meanwhile sweat thinly sliced (or julienned) raw beets and one potato in duck fat or butter. Add the broth and duck meat and a few sprigs of lovage as a bouquet garni. Simmer until the beets are barely cooked and add enough liquid from a jar of good dill pickles to make the soup pleasantly sour. Continue to simmer for a few minutes, season to taste and serve garnished with coarsely chopped lovage. Do not purée. The potato will thicken the soup and the beets will still have plenty of flavor and texture.

Anyone who tries this just has to become a beet lover.

Ruth Friedman :biggrin:

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Glazed beets also lovely

Cut into batons, put in pan with water up to halfway up. Drop a chunk of butter on top and a sprinkling of sugar

Part-cover with a lid/cartouche (sp?). Cook until they are done. Remove lid and boil off the rest of the water until nicely glazed

Munch

J

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The best Borsht I have ever had was from a recipe in the Sept/Oct 2002 issue of Saveur. They call it "Ukrainsky Borshch" and it uses cooked (they call for roasted) beats. A ton of ingredients, and quite a bit of work since you also make a beef stock with smoked ham hocks, but the flavor is rich, complex and meaty. Sorry I couldn't find the recipe on-line.

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JAZ   

If you're interested in a recipe for beet salad, I have one that's pretty good. I won't pretend that everyone loves it, but it has converted a few borderline beet-haters.

Since your beets are already cooked, just drain and slice them. Toss with a few tablespoons chopped fresh mint, and a vinaigrette made with (preferably) walnut oil and raspberry vinegar with a little garlic. Let them marinate for a few hours at least, then crumble some feta cheese over and serve. It's also good without the cheese, if you'd prefer it plain.

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Jinmyo   

Kristin, I have used packaged beets (because they were purchased by someone by mistake). I would willingly throw out fresh beets to keep the greens because I feel they are the real point. So I don't. I roast them, make borscht and so on. But back to packaged beets.

I pureed them, mixed them with pureed tomatoes and sweated mire poix, strained, chilled and served this in chilled bowls with crostini and cheeses and salumi.

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You can also make the classic salad of beets, blue cheese, and walnuts...

dice the beets, crumble the cheese, add the walnuts, and toss with oil and vinegar.

I've also made a variation with filberts (aka hazelnuts) and arugula added.

Jim

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scamhi   

I love beets ...roasted whole with EVOO and salt.

Also for your already cooked beets... try to puree them with cream fresh and horseradish or maybe some grated wasabi.

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afoodnut   
OK I don't like beets, I never have but I am trying to, so a friend suggested I try borscht (sp?).

any suggestions?

Okay, so I love beets, but can't stand borscht.:shock:

One of my favorite way of preparing beets, worth trying with your already cooked beets, as it's quite simple. Toss beets with olive oil, squeeze of lemon, a hint of cumin and cinnamon, and some finely chopped parsley, salt and pepper. (Serve no warmer than room temperature.)


Edited by afoodnut (log)

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Here is a beet recipe from my book,I love this one. Let me know what you think of it

Funky Pink Spice Rice

Ingredients

1 tablespoon / 15 mL vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon / 1 mL mustard seeds

1 green chili, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small eggplant, cubed

A few curry leaves

1 small beet, peeled and boiled

Salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon / 1 mL turmeric powder

1 1/2 cups / 375 mL cooked basmati rice

Garnish: Chopped coriander leaves.

Method

Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and green chili. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle add the onions. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the eggplant and curry leaves. Cook until the eggplant is soft (about 4 –5 minutes). You can add a tablespoon or two of water to aid the cooking process.

Dice the beet root into small pieces. Add to the onion eggplant mixture and sauté for another 2 –3 minutes. Add the salt and turmeric and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add the rice. And mix well. Remove from heat.

Serve hot, garnished with chopped coriander leaves.

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Dignan   

I don't like beets. Never have. But what I have had, and it has been many years since I tried one, were canned beets (which I seem to remember actually came a jar rather than a metal can) which I never liked. It was the one item I remember tasting and then refusing to eat another bite of as a child. And this from a guy whose older brother used to sneak brussels sprouts to him under the kitchen table in order to clear his plate. The dog wouldn't eat them, but I loved 'em.

But I know lots of you love 'em those beets. So help me out. In the spirit of what amounts to adventure on my part, I've just bought not quite 2 pounds of beets with tops. What, in your opinion, should I do with them in order to enjoy them? Simple or complicated, I don't care. I can obtain most any side ingrediants of reason for a person in a metropolitan US city. And the tops can be included or addressed as a dish aside from the beet root if you wish.

I enjoy this board and appreciate any ideas. Thx.

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Roasted beets make an excellent risotto. I usually saute the tops as I would spinach, in evoo and some crushed garlic.

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markf424   

Unbelievable. I was planning on dropping the same post in place. I picked up some beets at the farmer's market on Saturday. It will be my first time in more than 20 years that I've had a beet, my prior experience being that same pickled sweet beet one.

I have near 2 lbs of beets with tops. Uncanny. So far, I was planning on a simple preparation, rather than spending lots of time on something when I'm unsure how I'll feel. I found a Sara Moulton recipe where she boils, cools, and skins them, then cuts them into wedges and cooks them in a pan with thyme, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Simple enough preparation, but am I masking the true flavor of the beet too much?

Like Dignan, I'm all ears.

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Oh my God, at one of the farm dinners last year, Evan Kleiman made Beet-Ricotta Dumplings that were some of the best things I've ever had.

As for me, I love beets. I wash them, cut them into large chunks and then give a light spray of olive oil. Then wrap in heavy foil and roast at 400 degrees until they're easily pierced with a fork. Let them cool, add to a plateful of spinach with pine nuts, goat cheese, and some kind of vinaigrette, and that's a fabulous salad.

Or cook up the greens in a little EVOO and thick balsamic (I've got a bottle of 20-year-old stuff that pours like syrup), with the lightest bit of salt and pepper. And again, you can't go wrong adding goat cheese to beet dishes.

Mmmmm.

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Susan G   

I prefer to keep it simple: Separate the beet root from the tops, and steam the roots until they're tender..........for the last four minutes, add the beet tops. Serve with butter. The taste of spring!

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slbunge   

I'm one of those who loves beets. Their flavor is minerally, or earthy, and I need simple flavors to compliment: egg, young goat cheese or ricotta, butter, dill.

I have a great recipe for a chilled beet soup with cucumber and buttermilk. You add diced cucumber and hard-cooked egg to the soup at the table.

I had a great salad of roasted (but cooled) beets with poached egg, asparagus tips, haricor verts, frisee, and goat cheese at a restaurant called Nectar in Washington DC.

Mostly, I roast them with the skins on. When done (mild resistance to a skewer), slip off the skins and slice. Add a dollop of butter, a bit of cracked pepper, and enjoy.

Oh, and if you have the greens, as squeat suggests, a saute is nice. They also add a nice flavor to broths or stocks.

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Save your large glass jars - you know, the kind that pasta sauce comes in (oh, come on! Sometimes you just gotta break down and BUY sauce...)

Grate fresh beats with large-sized grate.

Add your favorite vinegar and a few teaspoons of sugar. A few tablespoons to a half-a-cup - whatever you like. For me, sometimes it is a mixture of red wine vinegar and balsamic. Once I tried it with Champagne vinegar (fabulous).

Give it a few days -- voila! Amazing condiment a la pickle that adds a dash of color and taste to any plate, makes a lovely side dish for spring and summer platters, and tastes pretty good on burgers as well.

I've known die-hard beet haters that will eat my grated beet pickles!

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tryska   

I like making them in Dal. and then having the dal with rice with ghee and some mango pickle on top.

barring that I like them pretty much every other way too.

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ludja   

A Chez Panisse classic:

Salad made with nice greens mix (some bitter), vinagrette and served with roasted beets and warmed goat cheese rounds covered in chopped walnuts. (or simpler even with chopped walnuts and pieces of goat cheese)

Beets taste great wtih citrus... roasted beets with orange or lemon vinagrette.

Hmmm... time to buy fresh beets!

edited to add: oops didn't see tanabutler's whole post above about the salad already--I was so excited to look at the Beet-Ricotta Dumpling recipe!


Edited by ludja (log)

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sequim   

As one who is half-Polish, I'd recommend hot or cold borscht.

As one who is half-Norwegian, I'd recommend pickled beets and herring.

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Dignan   
As for me, I love beets. I wash them, cut them into large chunks and then give a light spray of olive oil. Then wrap in heavy foil and roast at 400 degrees until they're easily pierced with a fork. Let them cool, add to a plateful of spinach with pine nuts, goat cheese, and some kind of vinaigrette, and that's a fabulous salad.

Mmmmm.

I'm leaning towards roasting them, in order to get some honest beet flavor. Any other beet roasting strategies and serving ideas? Can you eat them as a side like roasted potatoes?

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