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.
“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.”
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.
We still love to go on trips around the UK, staying in BnBs or camping in search of a good meal or two - hence, Around Britain with a Paunch. Quite often the trips have been prompted by Diana Henry's Gastro Pub Cookbook. Here's where we've been to: