Beetroot - How to Buy
If you have only ever had beetroot in a jar pickled or in a pouch precooked then you don't know what you are missing. As with many things the taste of freshly prepared beetroot is far removed from the processed kind on the supermarket shelves.
Look for beetroot that still has its luscious leaves attached - you can eat them. In fact some might say they are the tastiest part of the plant.
It's best to leave attached until you are ready to eat as both parts help to keep the whole fresh for longer. You will soon find that the extra you pay for the fresh beetroot will earn its keep with the versatile things you can do with it..
First to cook the leaves. Depending on the size of the beetroot you should allow about one set of leaves per person for a generous helping. Chop them off the root near to the bulb and wash well, chop like cabbage and boil or steam just like cabbage or spinach. You will find they are acreamier and sweeter version of spinach, very like the multi coloured beet leaves that you can buy sometimes. You can serve with a little butter and season to taste. So with the average bunch you have around four generous portions.
One of the healthiest way to eat the root is to simply peel it and grate it into a salad.
But you can also do several other things with it.
You can boil it. After peeling chop it into quarters or bite sized pieces and drop into a pan of boiling water or a steamer. Cook until you can easily stick a knife into it (like testing poratoes). Serve as a warm vegetable. it has a much stronger and sweeter flavour than the prepacked ones you can buy.
Or try rinsing it off and leaving it to completely cool. Prepare a salad of mixed leaves with greek feta or salad cheese then toss in some cold cooked beetroot and some fresh figs cut into quarters ...delicious.
You can Roast it. Peel and roast as you would any roast vegetables by oiling an oven tin and brushing the vegetables with olive oil, seasoning and a sprig or two of Rosemary (optional). Place in a medium oven for about 30 - 40 mins or until redy when tested with a knife.
Try this recipe for roasted beetroot. It's very simple and delicious.
Roast some fresh beetroot and sweet potato cubes seasoned and with a sprig of Rosemary and some chopped Rosemay sprinkled over.
While it is cooking take some quinoa (white is best as a contrast to the topping). Add some good quality vegetable stock and simmer for 15 mins approx. Put enough water in to cover and watch carefully topping up when needed. The idea is that the water and stock will abosrb into the quinoa and you should not need to drain it. You are wanting the quinoa to be cooked so that it is soft but not overcooked so that it becomes like porridge. It should be almost like mashed potato, soft and fluffy.
Place a bed of the quinoa on the plate and arrange the cubes of beetroot and sweet potato on top. Drizzle with a small amount of honey and cider vinegar if desired. When roasted the beetroot has a very rich strong flavour and is quickly satisfying so go easy on the portions.