Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Beetroot and more beetroot

I love this time of year - where you can reap the fruit of your hard labour in the garden. Only problem is that it all comes at once and you are left trying to figure out what to do with it all. Of course, you can freeze some of it but there are some vegetables that don't freeze that well (at least I don't like them when thawed again). Beetroot is one of them. I already made jars and jars of Beetroot Chutney. This is a yummy relish that goes so well with most types of cheese and it looks so pretty with its dark reddish colour. Prepare a cheeseboard and have the chutney in little dishes in the middle of it. It is easy to make, just chop raw beetroot and put it with a chopped red onion in a preserving pan (I also added chopped apples), add vinegar, sugar, salt and let it bubble away until it becomes syrupy and the beets are cooked and tender. Fill sterilised jars and let mature for about a month before you eat it. Stores for up to a year. Keep in fridge when opened. Another option is of course, pickled beetroot which is so much nice than the shop-brought stuff.

As all of my friends know, my favourite restaurant is Cafe Paradiso and I think Denis Cotter is one of the most talented self-taught chefs I have ever come across. Last year I went with a friend of mine and I ordered the beetroot risotto - amazing is a too small word to describe it. Anyhow - I remembered the risotto when I looked at the 'mountain' of beets I had and decided to give it a try. I cooked 2 medium beetroots until tender, peeled and chopped it into cubes. Tossed the cubes in olive oil and roasted it for about 15 mins. Took half the cubes out and pureed it in the food processor. The rest went back in the oven for a further 10-15 mins. The pureed beets went into hot stock and stirred together (keep it warm). Chop an onion, heat olive oil in a pot and fry until soft but not coloured. Add the risotto rice and toss until all grains are covered in the oil. Stir for a few minutes and add some red wine. Stir until the wine has vanished. Now continue as with 'normal' risotto using the beet-stock (that gives the risotto the amazing dark-pink colour). When the rice is cooked, add the left cubes of beetroot and mix it up. I topped it with young goats cheese. Denis Cotter had a recipe with broadbeans and lemon-fennel-oil. Next time I try the beetroot risotto I will make some lemon oil beforehand and will drizzle it over the risotto - think the lemon will lift the dish to a different level - but I have to say, it looked amazing, tasted fantastic and I was proud as Larry of it....

Tonight I will try a beetroot soup - watch this space


warren said...

I have prepared a similiar risotto to this but I add fennel with the onions at the start for that lovely aniseed flavour.... shelling broadbeans is a pain!

Elke said...

Hi Warren, yes I agree, shelling broadbeans is a pain but worth the effort when prepared nicely. I made beetroot soup last night but have to say I liked the risotto more.

Check out http://thedineandwineclub.blogspot.com/2011/09/beetroot-and-story-goes-on.html
for the 'soup-story'