6 quick ways with Beets

From Chris Halpin

2017 May/Jun

beet tapenade

This is a great alternative to a hummus and simply delicious. This is when your best quality olive oil will really shine. In a food processor or blender put 1 c. of canned beets, drained, ١/٤ c. olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1 t.
ground coriander, 1 T. ground black pepper, 2 garlic cloves and salt to taste. Purée until smooth; serve with crudités and pita chips. Makes 1-١/٢ cups.

beet greens with bacon and shallots

Beet greens are similar to Swiss chard, but I find them a little sweeter and more tender. This is wonderful with roast chicken or at brunch with poached eggs on top. In a large skillet over medium heat, put 3 rashers of bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Sauté until the fat starts to render out, then add 2 shallots, thinly sliced, pepper to taste – I find the bacon provides enough salt, but you be the judge – and continue to sauté until the shallots are soft and the bacon is just starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Now, add 1 bunch of beet greens, roughly chopped, stems and all. Sauté until the greens are wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add 2 T. sherry vinegar, stir to evenly distribute, adjust the seasoning and serve. Serves 4.

golden beet and fennel slaw with an herb vinaigrette

When people think of beets they usually think of them as a cooked vegetable, even with salads. But in fact, they are also wonderful eaten raw. Peel 3 golden beets, thinly slice and put in a bowl. Thinly slice 1 fennel bulb, add it to the bowl along with ١/٤ c. olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon and 2 T. of each of the following – finely chopped parsley, mint and green onion. Toss to combine, season with salt and pepper to taste, mix again and serve. Serves 4.

beet, caramelized onion and manchego flatbread

If you are using young fresh beets, there is no need to peel them. Preheat the oven to 375° F. In a pan over medium heat, put 2 T. olive oil and 1 large onion, thinly sliced. Sauté until soft and starting to turn colour, about 5 minute. Then add ١/٤ c. balsamic vinegar and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Take 1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry and slice it in half on the long side. With a fork, poke it randomly for vent holes. Very thinly slice 4 small beets and arrange them up the centre on both pieces, leaving about an inch on either side. Spread the onions in an even layer over the beets. Lightly brush any of the beets that didn’t get covered with olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Turn the long side of the pastry edge over onto its self and press with your finger to crimp the edges. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is brown and flaky. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with ١/٢ c. of finely grated manchego cheese and some fresh thyme leaves. Slice into wedges – makes 24 little wedges.

lamb burger with beet relish and chèvre

A few years ago I had an idea that I would “do preserves.” I went on a marathon of 12 jars of pickles and the same of two types of relish and jams – and hated it! I also had enough preserves to feed an army. When I finally finished them, I decided to do only 1 or 2 jars of any given thing. Much better! This relish is fast, simple and can be eaten as soon as it has cooled. I love it with lamb burgers or spicy sauce. In a small pot put ١/٢ c. cider vinegar, ١/٤ c. sugar, 1 t. black pepper, a pinch of ground cloves and place over high heat. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 2 minutes, before adding 1 small red onion, finely diced, 1 large beet, grated on the largest grate of a box grater, and stir until it comes back to a boil. Then add 1 t. cornstarch and continue to stir until the relish has thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. For the lamb burger, place 1 lb. lean ground lamb, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 1 t. each salt, sugar and pepper, mix well. Form 4 patties and grill or fry to desired doneness. Place on a soft bun, smear with chèvre, add some relish and a leaf of butter lettuce; and sink into food nirvana. Makes 1 cup of relish.

beet chocolate muffins

I use beets in this recipe like someone might use carrots or zucchini in another muffin recipe – they add moisture, nutrients and the most beautiful rich colour. Place 12 muffin liners into a muffin tray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350º F. In a bowl, put 2 c. flour, 1 t. baking soda, ١/٢ t. baking powder and a pinch of salt, mix well and set aside. In another bowl, put 1 c. soft butter, 1-1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. cocoa powder and 1 c. beets, peeled and finely grated. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Now beat in 4 eggs, until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and beat until well mixed. Divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the centre springs back. Makes 1 dozen.