Am I alone in preferring boiled to roasted beetroots?
Every time I have tried the fashionable roast veg treatment on beetroots it has taken longer to cook them, been harder to peel them, and made very little difference to the taste that I can notice, and given a harder textured, denser end result. I love red peppers, courgettes, sweet potatoes and garlic roasted with a sprig or two of rosemary and a scatter of sea salt and so on, sweet, sticky and delicious, but beetroot?
I like beetroots boiled, old fashioned as it sounds, they come out easy to peel, moist and shiny and make beautiful beetroot and onion salad.
- 700 grams or so of fresh beetroot
- 1 or two large Spanish onions (depends how much you like onion and how big your onions are)
- Bunch of fresh dill (frozen will do if you haven’t got fresh dill)
- White Pepper (Black if you haven’t got white is fine)
- Vinegar of your choice – Red or White wine vinegar is good, or Rice vinegar or a mixture with a little Balsamic thrown in to the mix.
Trim the leaves off the beetroot leaving an inch of so of shoots, leave the roots on the beetroots and boil them whole, resisting the urge to scrub or cut off any little hairy bits, they just bleed more whilst cooking.
Cover in lots of cold water and bring to boil and continue to boil until they are soft. Anything from 40 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on size and age of beetroots.
Peel the beetroots while still hot, the skins will come away easily.
Slice onions into thin rounds. Slice beetroots similarly into rounds. Dilute your chosen vinegar with water. Maybe 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water, I do it slightly differently each time.
Layer your beetroots and onions in a dish, sprinkling with salt, sugar and white pepper between each layer and if you like dill, put fresh finely chopped dill in with each layer. Then pour the vinegar mixture over the whole lot, it doesn’t have to cover completely as you will turn the salad the following day and there will be more liquid which has come out of the vegetables by then.
Cling film the top of the bowl and put it in the fridge. Turn once a day for about three to four days. Once the onions have turned a good beetroot red colour and began to soften/pickle you can eat it any time after that. Test for readiness by nibbling on a piece of onion!
I haven’t given quantities as people’s tastes vary so much. For a saltier pickle use 1 tbsp of sugar to 1 tbsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper, for a sweeter pickle increase the sugar to 2 tbsp to 1 tbps of salt. This should keep for at least 10 days or so in the fridge, if you want to make a pickle that keeps for longer then you will need to use sterile jars and a different method.
Serve with anything you fancy, and watch the glorious pinks bleed across your plate causing chaos.
Just came across a much simpler salad treatment from the Riverford Veg Blog. This is where these beetroots originated from (as small seedlings in a planting out box that we got in the Spring). Guy boils his beetroots too, so I am not alone ! But thanks for reading this post anyway.