Monday, 4 March 2013

Beetroot for Beginners

I made beetroot risotto for tea tonight and it was delicious. I remember beetroot as a child, the pickled variety  in vinegar that my mum bought from the supermarket. I never liked it! Now it is a different story. Since being married my husband and I have had an organic veg box delivered each week from Riverford. This has been a real enjoyment and challenge for me as a cook. The best carrots, tomatoes and oranges I have ever tasted and a whole variety of veg such as kale, celeriac, Swiss chard and whatever is in season at the time that I probably wouldn't have tried before. I would highly recommend it if your pennies can stretch to it as it makes you try vegetables you may not normally and experiment a lot more as well as being better for you and helping keep the air miles down on imported veg. Anyway, it was as part of this that I was first faced with raw beetroot and now I love it. As I say it  comes raw and so you either have to boil it for about 45 minutes (which I usually do) or roast it in the oven. It is nice roasted with olive oil and and orange juice (cover with foil to stop it drying out.) It then needs to be peeled (wear gloves if you don't want pink fingers) and is ready to be used. I have enjoyed it on a home made pizza- beetroot and mozarella, chocolate beetroot cake (it makes a really moist cake that is not too sweet) and my latest is beetroot risotto. It is a basic risotto recipe with onion, garlic, stock and red wine. When it is almost cooked you stir in the beetroot (half grated, half chopped) along with some medium cheddar ( I used Waitrose Lighter medium cheddar) and I also added a few chopped anchovies and topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt. It was really tasty and even my husband was surprised how good it was once he had got over the bright pinkness of it. My two year old son also ate it after initially turning his nose up, but again he may of been put off by the colour! So give it a go.

Serves 2.(and a toddler)

1 onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic crushed
6 ounces of risotto rice
100ml of red wine
600ml vegetable stock
50g medium lighter cheddar
3 anchovies (optional)
4 medium beetroot, cooked and peeled, half grated, half chopped
Greek yogurt to serve.


Heat a medium non stick pan with a little olive oil. Add onion and fry gently until softened. Add the garlic clove and rice and stir and cook for another minute.Add the red wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated. Then add the stock a ladle full at a time, bring up to the boil and then simmer stirring regularly until the risotto is almost cooked. (you may need more stock depending on how quickly it absorbs it, but the secret is to keep the stock in a small saucepan on the hob on a gentle simmer and add a ladle a time to the risotto ) Then stir in the beetroot, cheese and anchovies (if using). Season and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt if desired and a green salad. 

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