Let me say that I am not a picky eater and I eat almost any vegetable. However I have never tasted a beet. Not sure why, they just never appealed to me.
But this past weekend, my husband and I were in a restaurant with my 14 month old daughter and my in-laws and my mother-in-law had a salad with roasted beets on it. My daughter was totally interested in the beets, tasted them, and then couldn't get enough!
I'm lucky that my daughter is a terrific eater, and now I'd like to add beets to ever-growing list of things that she eats. But I don't know where to begin. I roast vegetables all the time (cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions, baby carrots are what I usually make). I don't know if I really need a "recipe" for the beets, but I saw this on epicurious.com and thought it was a good place to start, mostly because it gave me some directions plus she loves the carrots too.
Is there anything else I should know about roasting beets? Is there a better way to cook them?
Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
Welcome to the wonderful world of beets -- I've loved them since I was a toddler.
You can cook beets the way you would any other root vegetable (roast, boil, steam, etc.). I've found that because they're very dense, they take a long time to roast -- much longer than a comparable-sized potato, for example. The roasting carmelizes their natural sugars, though, so it's a yummy way to make them (as the recipe you linked suggested, you can cook them ahead and keep them for a few days, so you can make a big batch and use some right away and some later).
One thing you need to be aware of is that they're rather messy -- they'll bleed red juice both raw and cooked, so you need to be careful how you handle them or they'll dye you, your kitchen and any other food the come into contact with red (after they're roasted the skins will just rub off, but you might want to use gloves).
First thing with beets is not to peel or trim them until after they have cooked. Some people boil them until they are tender and some roast. I prefer baking and I used to wrap each beet in foil and bake but anymore I just put them in a casserole and cover tightly and bake at 350 F. for about an hour. Then allow to cool and peel under running water, that helps to slip the skins off. Then you are ready to go. I just love them sliced and buttered. If you can find some golden beets, they are especially sweet.
I'm glad someone brought up the no-peeling thing - even if the beets are wrapped in foil, I think you lose a lot of good flavor if the skin and root are removed. I also try to leave about an inch of stem at the top as well. And on the subject of tops, I always try to get the bunches with the prettiest ones - they're essentially the same thing as Swiss chard, only I think nicer. Tania hates both chard and beet greens, though she adores beets, so we both have beets for dinner and I get those lovely greens for lunch!
re: toodie jane
I had not thought of that, but I wonder if that might be the basis for my wife's hatred of it - a hatred which she shares with most of her family, I might add. When we were all in France visiting relatives, the cook served a gratin of chard at lunch one day, and I was the ONLY person who took any! I know a lot of likes and dislikes are tied in to one's body's sensitivity to certain substances, and perhaps mine simply is less sensitive to oxalic acid. I've noticed that Tania is not as fond of spinach as I am, and her parents never serve it.
i love to wrap them in foil and bake them for about an hour. i do peel them first, with a veg peeler. i think if you boil them you lose a lot of their flavor, unless you're making a soup, like borscht. they're also great cubed and added to other roasted root vegetables, maybe around a roast or just seasoned in a pan.
Wrap in foil and bake. I get yellow and red beets, cook them up, and leave in the fridge for using on salads during the week.
Roasted beets with just some S/P and butter are great, as are beets and fennel. There was a post a few months ago for roasted beets with rosemary. I tried it, it was great. Maybe search the Oct/Nov home cooking boards for more ideas.
Trader Joe's as well as my local supermarket carries Melissa brand roasted and peeled beets. They are in a vacuum sealed bag and they are wonderful. All you need to do is heat them up and use in your favorite recipe or cold for salads and the like.
I will never buy the fresh beets again and deal with the mess.