Beetroot Surprise

Beetroot solo 2

– Honey, what’s for dinner?

– Beetroot.

– And?…

– Nothing and. I am making oven roasted beetroots for dinner. That’s it.

– Oh, ok.

Of course I wasn’t making only beetroots, but I wanted to test T. I had made salads and soups with pre-cooked and peeled beets before, but I had a feeling it had never been his favorite food. I just wanted to be certain of this before I presented him the ultimate beet dish.

I had read about oven roasting beets before, and I love anything when it is roasted, so when I saw the organic beets on the market yesterday, I gave it a go. A dish started to evolve in my mind, I could imagine so well which spices and herbs would go well with it. And how it did! T. commented “the beets are definitely the surprise winner of this dinner”.

And the dinner was no loser, let me tell you: Smoked and honey glazed quail legs on a bed of just-wilted spinach and said oven roasted beets with spices:

Quail legs

And before you start all about how you just hate beets, try to think if you ever had fresh oven roasted ones. Maybe, just maybe, your dislike started with your mom’s boiled version or, worse yet, the pre-cooked (and even sliced) versions from the supermarket. Give these a try, you really will be surprised, I promise. If not, you are welcome to throw a bucket full of beet juice all over me!

Oven Roasted Spicy Beetroots
own creation

prep: 5 mins
bake: ca. 1 hour (unattended)

beetroots, 500g, preferably organic
olive oil, 1/3 cups
caraway seeds, 2 tsp
sea salt, 1 tsp
thyme, 1 tsp
marjoram, 1 tsp
orange peel, grated, 1/2 tsp

Preheat your oven to 220°C.

Cut the stems off of the beetroots, but not too short, you don’t want to “wound” the beets lest they bleed. Wash/scrub them real good (but gently), these beets are not going to be peeled! Mix the olive oil with the spices and herbs. Cut sheets of aluminium foil big enough to wrap the beets individually. Smear 1-2 tsps of the olive oil mix in the middle of each sheet and wrap the beets one by one. Distribute the foil packages on a baking dish/tray and place in the oven for an hour. You can test doneness by inserting a knife, just like a potato.

Carefully open the foil packages, remove the beets with a spoon onto a glass cutting board (or a plastic one which you don’t mind to get permanently stained!). If you used organic beets and scrubbed them real well, you don’t need to peel them, it is just like potato skins. Just cut the two rough “ends” away and you will be fine. Pour the juices from the foils over the beets for extra flavor. The roasted beets taste warm and cold!

Note: If you can’t get organic beets or you don’t want to eat the peel for any other reason, double the olive oil-spice mixture and serve the peeled beets with the extra half poured over. This mixture is the key to über-yummy beets!

7 Responses

  1. Hande, do you ever cook/prepare the meze with beetroots (the one prepared with yogurt, garlic, olive oil, other spices/herbs)? You should try it with roasted beetroots. It makes such a big difference. Not sure if T. will like it, though :)

  2. ok, happy to try that. beetroot is my pet hate, but i do trust you. and you know i can track you down if i want to ;-)

  3. let me set the record straight before you call your people to track me down :) i am not madly in love with the taste of the beetroot. what attracts me is the color. that fluorescent pink you get when its mixed with yogurt is extraordinary.

    now that i think of it – that beetroot meze would make a nice spread. i should try it with toasted bread slices or garlic bread.

  4. Johanna,
    I knew this threat would come and that it is 100% do-able, so I am pretty confident when I say “try it”!
    Itir,
    no worries, Johanna would not track you down, but me! I have never made the “pancar salatasi” you are referring to, actually I never liked it that much, I don’t know why, what with all the yogurt and garlic in there, which I love… I think the color puts me off, it is so “unnatural”. But maybe I will try it now, just to see how roasted beets work in it!

  5. I’m not sure if I will have a bucket of beet juice handy to be honest but I love roasted beets so I think you’ll be ok ;-)

  6. This was really delicious. I used both red and white beets from the organic market and everyone really loved this dish. The flavors of the herbs really complimented the beets. I peeled the beets and reasted them in a dutch oven. The only problem was that everyone loved them and I should have cooked more. A different, delicious, easy, attractive vegetable dish!

  7. That looked amazing – will give it a go myself – Many thanks!

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