I happen to love beets. But I didn’t always. When I first tasted them, they tasted like dirt to me. Not that I really know what dirt tastes like, mind you. But they have a real earthiness to them that you almost have to force yourself to embrace, sort of like learning to love beer.
There’s nothing quite like the simplicity of roasted beets. They’re sweet and tender. But today I roasted them and then glazed them, with spectacular results.
I’m basically a California girl at heart. I’ve lived many different places in my life, both growing up and since marrying. But there’s just something about California. And that’s what the recipes in this book are about. Here’s a quote from the introduction:
“You don’t have to live in California to be a California cook – what you do need is a California spirit.”
The recipe for orange-glazed beets caught my attention because as I said, I love beets. I’ve roasted them, and pickled them, but never glazed them, so I knew I had to try this. It’s a little more involved recipe, because I made it a little more difficult by adding an extra step. I wanted to roast the beets first, which after-the-fact, didn’t really make a difference.
adapted from The New California Cook
3 medium-sized beets
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stems of the beets. Place the beets in a foil-lined roasting pan. Two of the beets were larger than the third, so I sliced them in half, to make them more uniform in size.
Drizzle them with a little olive oil, about 3 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover the whole baking dish with foil, and bake the beets for about 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and roast the beets for 15-20 minutes. They’re not completely tender at this point, but I didn’t want them cooked thoroughly before I went through the glazing process, which cooks the beets further.
Remove the beets from the oven and let them cool.
Meanwhile, combine the chicken stock, orange juice and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a light boil, and let reduce for about 15 minutes or so.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove the peels. I do this by rubbing the skins with paper towels. If all of the peel won’t come off, finish with a peeler. Some people wear gloves handling beets, because your fingers will turn red. But it’s not permanent.
Slice the beets into lengthwise wedges or, if you prefer, horizontal slices. It depends what shape you want.
Place the beets into the liquid and maintain a soft simmer. Pour all of the remaining liquid from the roasted beets into the saucepan.
Continue simmering, occasionally spooning the liquid over the beets, if they are not completely submerged. The liquid will reduce and become a glaze.
Add the butter, stir in, then remove the saucepan from the stove.
The original recipe calls for added chopped parsley, but I omitted that. You can taste for salt.
These beets are a lovely side dish. Today I paired them with a pesto-crusted pork tenderloin, and it was a perfect combination. The beets would also be lovely on a composed salad.
verdict: Delicious! As I mentioned, I don’t think the roasting step improved the beets ultimate flavor and texture, so that step can easily be omitted. Simply peel and chop/slice the beets, and simmer them in liquid. You will have to double up on the liquid ingredients, however, since the whole process will take about 45 minutes before the raw beets become tender.
note: I will make these beets again in the fall, with some apple cider and maple syrup. They really are fabulous glazed!