Friday, 16 November 2007

How do you Beet it?

“It's a little known fact that if you placed all the t-shirts end to end that had been thrown away with beetroot stains on them, they would stretch 3.87 times round the Earth. Beetroot juice is known in scientific circles as a biological stain, it resists all manner of detergents and woe betide any husband who gets it on his shirt collar as it can be mistaken for lipstick by a suspicious wife!” – Magic Veg

Beetroot Risotto, recipe from Shaun

Before I came to Australia, I was only familiar with canned beetroot. I didn't want to eat too much of it because I thought all that red colouring can't be good for me. Many years later, after encountering fresh beetroot, I discovered that the red colouring is all natural. More recently, thanks to my partner, Quikong (I told you he is a gourmand in denial!), I learnt how to cook beetroot leaves. It's great when you can use all the parts of a vegetable.

These days, I just can't resist vibrant pink-stained beetroot dishes. When I saw Shaun's Beetroot Risotto, I just had to have some. It was delicious (thanks, Shaun!). The subtle spices in the pickled beetroot wonderfully compliments the flavour of the beetroot.
I followed Shaun's instructions exactly (except for substituting balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar). I also crumbled some goat's cheese feta on the risotto just before serving. Beetroot has a strong flavour so it pairs well with this cheese. I didn't have any leftover, otherwise I would have made some beetroot arancini.

Quick Tips for eating/cooking Beetroot:

Raw: After peeling, beetroot can simply be grated, tossed with a little orange juice and eaten raw.

Boiled/Steamed: Beetroot can be boiled or steamed for 20-60 minutes depending on its size. It is cooked when you can pierce it easily with a skewer. Allow to cool and then the skins will just slip off.

Baked/Roasted: Wash, trim the stalks and wrap each beetroot separately in foil. Place in a moderate oven for about 40 minutes, then serve. Either eat the skins or take them off. Baked beetroot has a rich earthy flavour, although it is a little drier than steamed beetroot.

Beetroot leaves: Small, young beetroot leaves can be used in salads. Older leaves are slightly bitter, but they can be shredded and cooked like spinach. I prefer to steam the leaves (& young stems) and make a Greek Style warm salad (batzaria):

Still hungry for more beet information? Alanna from A Veggie Venture has compiled various ways of cooking beetroot and a very impressive long list of recipes. You can check it out here.

A few other recipes that I have tried or would like to try....

Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything shared this delicious old-fashioned Beetroot Chutney from Iain Hewitson's book on the Tolarno. It’s great with roast meats. I’ve had it in a roast beef roll.

Tired of the usual pesto? Alanna Kellogg of a Veggie Adventure shared this delicious Beetroot Pesto recipe which she got from the manager from Wolf Pine Farm.

At your next party, how about serving up some deep red Beetroot Hummus? This recipe shared by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict is easy yet stunning.

With warmer days arriving in the southern hemisphere, this Cold Polish Beetroot Soup from Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen is just the thing to whip up.

How about beetroot desserts? YES!!! Beetroot is very versatile indeed:

- Dark Chocolate Beetroot Brownies by Béa of La Tartine Gourmand. Irresistible!

- Vegan Chocolate & Beetroot Cake with Spiced Beetroot Glaze. A very festive looking cake by Kathryn of Limes and Lycopene. One would never guess that it has tofu in it (don't tell Quikong!).

So how do you like to have your beetroot?


Valli said...

Can I have an Amen for all the wonderful beet dishes on your blog!Beets are a favourite of mine but I use gloves and a large apron every time I make them. When I was in Greece I had beets in some form every second day!!! They are big on beet salad on the menu!!

winedeb said...

Nora I love beetroot - but the men in my house do not! All of your dishes and photos make me "need" some beetroot! The heck with those males, I am going to have some! One way I like to have them is sliced with as much juice as you can get, add thinly sliced onions, a pinch of sugar, cider vinegar and water to cover. Chill and you have a wonderful little beet salad. OK, off to the market I go!
FYI, I tagged you for a Meme, but I totally understand if you do not have the time right now. I know your schedule is "full" and your time is precious! Cheers!

Rosa said...

Thanks for these great beetroot links! Our friend Lucy at Nourish Me posted a great recipe a few months ago for beetroot soup with an Asian twist. I also have a recipe for beetroot gazpacho that I haven't yet tried. Otherwise, I usually like to combine baked beetroot in a winter salad with oranges or kumquats. Can't wait to try the beetroot brownies!

Magic Cochin said...

Thank you for collecting together all those yummy beetroot recipes. Cliff made Beetroot Chutney from some of the beets from our garden - delicious. We also use the tops as a veg; roast with other root veg makes a colourful mix and beetroot curry - made with coconut milk is delicious.
I must try the beetroot brownies!


S- said...

Yum, I love fresh beets. I like to just roast them with some garlic and olive oil. The risotto looks amazing, I'll have to try it.

katiez said...

We can buy them cooked and peeled here in the markets...there's a long fork to spear them with and plastic bags....very weird.
I love them pickled!

kathryn said...

Thanks for linking to me, because now I've found your blog. I love beetroot, some would say I was obsessed by it. So thanks for all these gorgeous beetroot links. Love the quote at the top.

Nora B. said...

Valli - if you end with some beetroot juice on your hands, you can remove the stains with lemon. Beetroot does feature a lot in Greek recipe.

Deb - your beet salad sounds delicious and refreshing. I haven't tried eating raw beetroot, so your salad would be a good place to start. And yes, heck with the men! ;-)

Rosa - oh, yes!!! I was trying to find that recipe, I forgot that it was from Lucy. Thanks for reminding me. Beetroot winter salad with oranges or kumquats - yumm! I think I won't wait for winter to try that. Thanks for the idea.

Celia - All of that sounds so yummy. I haven't tried beetroot curry yet. Oh how I wish I have my own homegrown beetroot!

Stephen - Yes, the concentrated flavour of roasted beetroot is simply delicious.

Katie - Interesting...Maybe the long forks is to prevent staining?

Kathryn - Your most welcome and thanks for your recipe. I'm a silent reader of your blog :-)
Out of curiosity, how did you to find my blog?

Anh said...

I hate canned beet, but the fresh variety is lovely. I like the color of your risotto so much!

My fav of eating beet is to roast them, then peel, slice and add in cream fraiche. :)

Lucy said...

Nora, that quote is priceless.

I think, still, that I prefer the stalks and the leaves personally...but ohmigod! Bea's brownies look INCREDIBLE. Your risotto looks divine as well - you've captured the colours perfectly.

Just adding you to my blogroll - I don't know why your not there (I thought you were...sorry!).

kathryn said...

Hi there Nora, thanks for reading Limes & Lycopene. I found you from your link to me in the above post. I have a google blog tracker set up which monitors bloggers and other sites that mention Limes & Lycopene.

bee said...

i love beetroot in a salad with oranges and a citrus vinaigrette. the risotto is a great idea.

Eva said...

I didn't even know that you can eat beetroot leaves! Something I have to try next time. I love the bright colour of your risotto!

Big Boys Oven said...

I would have them rwa or with salad!

Kate / Kajal said...

Hey Nora ...all those links were wonderful .Thanks for sharing.
I've grown up seeing beetroot around my house , and was never one of my fav veggies. My dad used to try n get us to have it everyday (soups,salads,yogurt,dips,boiled ) and go on n on about how good it it for us n all, but i just hated the colour so much. My nails would go purple n my mouth would look funny and God forbid i dropped it on my clothes ...ah !!! gone forever !!! The colour still kinda freaks me out but i think i can have it once n a while :P

Em said...

I loooooove beetroots. My parents get heaps of them in their garden. They like to marinate them and eat them during winter. I did not use to like beets SO much as a kid, but they grew on me. Risotto is a great idea. I will have to try it...

Em said...

Oh and I forgot to mention that Australia made me like beets in sandwiches and hamburgers...

Bellini Valli said...

Hey Nora...I have tagged you for a 4 Things MEME on my blog. You are by no means obligated to actually complete the task but I just thought it was a fun one. You should be out there having fun in the sun!!! I would love it though if you checked out my answers on my blog!!

Kelly-Jane said...

I'm so keen to try this after seeing Shaun's post, and yours looks terrific too, vibrant gorgeous colour!

Antonia said...

Beetroot risotto - how beautiful! What a great idea. And what a wonderful collection of recipes - I usually just roast mine, but shall definately give some of these ideas a try.

Wendy said...

Ok, ok, I'll give it another go!

Aimée said...

A beet fan over here! I've made chocolate beet cake-very moist and dark. Yum!

Lydia said...

Yow! That is absolutely gorgeous risotto. I love all things with beets, and I even love peeling them and having red-stained fingers while I eat!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Wow, Nora... I see you know a lot about beetroots. I just know how to make beetroot and yougurt soup.

I like especially risotto recipe.

Have a great day, Margot

Susan said...

Hey, Nora! Glad you tried out one of Shaun's recipes. Even though I'm ambivalent about beets, this dish IS a dish.

Cynthia said...

I think that I've only eaten beets once, I have give them another try.

Your risotto on the other hand, looks mesmerizing :)

tigerfish said...

Hey you know...I seldom have beetroots! :O Hmmm.....but yours having it on risotto surely looks delectable.

toni said...

Beets are one of my favorite veggies. Thanks for all the great recipe links! I love them every way I've had them - in salads, boiled, and most of all, roasted. Never tried them in risotto, but that will be remedied soon!

Nora B. said...

Anh - Yummm, cream fraiche!

Lucy - Thank you for your kind words! I too don't know why I didn't have you on my blogroll, that's been remedied though. I hope that you'll enjoy my next post because I made the brownie.

Kathryn - Cool! I didn't know that we could do that.

Bee - Beetroot seems to go well with citrus.

Eva - Thank you. The bigger leaves are slightly bitter but I'm used to eating veggies that have such flavour.

BBOven - I still haven't tried them raw, so I will be giving that a try soon.

Kate - You sound traumatized! Have a look at my next post :-)

Em - I wish I have beetroot in my garden. I would use it more often.

Antonia - Thank you! It's always fun to try something new.

Wendy, Susan, Cynthia - Check out my next post. ;-)

Aimée - I would like to try making a beetroot choc cake next. I couldn't find the recipe on your blog, or maybe you've never blogged about it before?

Lydia - Beet are delicious, aren't they. And such a vibrant colour.

Margot - Do let me know if you try other beetroot recipes. And I hope that you had a great day, too.

Kelly-Jane, Tigerfish & Toni - Do try making the risotto. It's so different from any risotto I've ever made. I think it's because of the spices.

Valli - I'll have a look for sure!

Pille said...

Nice compilation of beetroot links! If you're still looking for more, then I've blogged about various beetroot salads, beetroot risotto, beetroot & potato layer cake, sweet beetroot & ginger cake, and various beetroot soups (incl. beetroot borscht, of course). Beetroot brownies will be next on my list!! (I just checked - I've got 314 beetroot recipes bookmarked on my site:)

Shaun said...

Nora B. ~ Sorry for the message delay. I am so glad that you tried the recipe and that you enjoyed the risotto. I wouldn't have had any left over for arancini if others around me hadn't already eaten (it was a very late lunch for me that day, for I was lost in a thesis-writing cloud). Beetroot is a very unique vegetable, and I love this application of it. I'm glad that you enjoyed the subtle spiciness that the pickling lends to the beetroot.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

My MIL is a huge beet fan, and I'm just beginning to learn how to enjoy this red veggie thing! :)

Syrie said...

I love Beetroot! Thanks for all the wonderful tips...I will definitely be trying out the Risotto. Cheers!