Tuesday 15 February 2011

Salt Roast Beetroot with Orange and Ginger Sauce

Roasting salted beets

My beetroot fetish is getting out of control. Like an alcoholic slipping a slug of vodka into his orange juice at breakfast time and a dash of whisky into his coffee on the way to work, I’ve found beetroot weedling its way into burgers, meatball, salads, gnocchi and souffles recently. When I wake up with beetroot ice cream slathered over my chest I’ll know it’s got the better of me.

One of my favourite discoveries since moving to Sweden has been a very stylish cookery book called Aquavit by a Swede called Marcus Samuelsson with an Ethiopian background who now lives and cooks in New York. It’s full of imaginative ideas that set the mind thumping and photographs that make you want to tear off the page and serve it for supper. His recipe for roasted beets in an orange and ginger sauce set off my beetroot radar and wouldn’t let me go until I had cooked it.

Roasting a salted beet

Roasted Beets in Orange-Ginger Sauce – from Aquavit cookbook review on Amazon.

Serves 4 to 6

“Roasting beets on a bed of salt keeps them moist and flavorful (you can do the same with baked potatoes). Garlic roasts alongside the beets, then the soft garlic pulp is added to a tangy citrus sauce flavored with traditional Swedish seasonings.


About 2 cups coarse salt
8 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
2 heads garlic
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon honey
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Spread a layer of coarse salt on a small baking sheet and place the beets and garlic on it. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beets are fork-tender and the garlic is soft enough to squeeze out of the skin; the garlic may be done before the beets. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, combine the orange juice, stock, honey, ginger, and cardamom in a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until reduced by half. Strain the sauce into a saucepan and set aside.

4. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Put in a medium bowl. Separate the garlic cloves, squeeze the garlic pulp out of the skins, and add to the bowl.

5. Reheat the sauce over low heat, stirring a few times, and pour the sauce over the beets. Garnish with the tarragon and serve.”

Salt roasted beets

Beetroot with chicken

I roasted some chicken legs along side the beetroot and boiled some cracked wheat to add some ballast. It was healthy, tasty, creative and slaked my beetroot thirst for another day. The tangy orange and ginger sauce is incredibly moreish and would be a great complement to a pork chop or duck breast. And having discovered roasting beets on a bed of salt from Marcus Samuelsson, I've not cooked beetroot any other way since. It keeps them moist, full of flavour and stops them losing their colour.


Ailbhe said...

I adore beetroot and often make an orange vinaigrette to go with them. The addition of ginger sounds great. Will try salt bed method on my next bunch Thanks

Su-Lin said...

Do you reckon the salt can be reused here? I've never roasted with this much salt before.

Jonathan said...

@Alibhe - Excellent - let me know how it goes.

@Su-Lin - Erm... probably. It is a lot of salt. But it does get quite brown and bakes hard, so you might struggle/not want to.

Unknown said...

This looks amazing but I am with Su-Lin it does seem a lot of salt, I did something similar with a fish once and it was a very expensive way to cook!

Jonny said...

It is kind of amazing how Marcus Samuelsson made Swedish food cool, but he's a big deal over here in NYC. Did you find the beets to be salty after baking them? I've baked whole fish in salt before and it didn't come out salty at all, but since beets are, for wont of a better word, more absorbent than fish I'm curious. Lovely shots, by the way.

dining table said...

This is a nice way of enjoying some beetroots! It has been a long time since I had some.

Unknown said...

I love beetroot - especially with goats cheese and I love the colour contrast with the salt...

cinabar said...

I love your blog - but really I don't get this beetroot fetish! It tastes of soil! :-D

Gin and Crumpets said...

That looks beautiful.

Paunchos said...

@Gourmet Chick - I guess so. But it's not that expensive if you just use bog standard rock salt.

@Jonny - I really love MS's book. So creative. The beets aren't salty at all. In fact that come out tasting really sweet.

@Dining Table - It is indeed. Give them a try and you'll never look back.

@Liz - works beautifully with goats cheese.

@Cinabar - Maybe I like it because m parents are keen gardeners?

@Gin and Crumpets - Thanks!


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