Sunday, April 16, 2006

Braised Beets

I have provided a previous gross out story on beets already. I will not submit it to you again.

The Medusa of the vegetable world, all the beet touches turns to ruby. Demanding center stage on any plate they grace, it is a well-deserved placement. Artistically, beets are a most majestic vegetable. The crimson hue they radiate is astounding. Pulsing with vibrancy, they seem to have a heartbeat you can almost feel.

In culinary terms, they are near to perfection: pairing perfectly with meats, bringing color to any salad, flavorful enough to form a soup and bold enough to stand on their own. You would be hard pressed to find another master of the food world with such flavor and seemingly exotic pizzazz as the beet; yet so humble it is often overlooked.

I am quite content a few noble beets will have the honor to embellish my bucket garden this summer. And as long as I can keep the odd five finger discount on my garden to a minimum, there will be much rejoicing in the weeks to come, with many more beet recipes to follow.

This recipe is deliciously simple. Remember to take care when handling beets as they do stain (so throw on an apron). Orange juice is an ideal pairing with this vegetable for a little bit of tang, further bringing out the beet’s own sweetness.

Makes: 4 servings. Active Time= 10 minutes. Cook Time= 1 to 1-½ hours.
* 4-5 medium sized beets
* 1 medium onion
* 1-½ cups orange juice
* ½ cup water
* 1 Tbl fresh rosemary; chopped

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Slice both ends off beets and peel skin off. Chop into ¼-inch cubes.
2) Cut onions into ¼-inch cubes. Place onion and beets in an oven safe, non-reactive pan. Add orange juice, water and sprinkle fresh chopped rosemary over top.
3) Bake for 1 hour. Remove beets, stir and test doneness. If not yet soft, return to oven for another ½ hour. This dish can be served warm or cooled and served chilled.

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