I have a real soft spot for this humble vegetable, its gorgeous purple fruits are the ruby of the vegetable world. Not only is it beautiful, it has the usual health benefits of low blood pressure and preventing heart disease.
Interestingly the beetroot, has a more long term effect, it helps to increase our stamina and enables our muscles to work more efficiently. As if that wasn’t enough, it also helps to prevent dementia and is an environmentally sustainable crop rarely requiring the use of pesticide. It is best to buy beetroot in summer as they need sunshine to get the rich sweetness we love them for.
Happily, they are easy to cook whether you choose to buy them pre-cooked or eat them straight from the garden. Hot tip for beetroots that are being cooked for the first time, keep their skin on. This will keep the nutrients inside and prevent the colour leaking. After boiling or baking them it is easy enough to either eat the skin or put them under cold water and wash the skin away.
A friend who has inspired me to give vegan cooking a go suggested this recipe and it is utterly delicious. Very easy to make and beautiful to look at. This is a winner that utilises beetroot to its full potential.
For those of us that have experienced beetroot stains here is three handy tips for getting even!
- Stained hands: Run liberally with lemon and salt before washing them with soap and water.
- Fabric: Rub with a raw slice of pear, rinse in cold water and then wash with a biological powder.
- Chopping boards and containers: A bleach solution.
GREEN KITCHEN’S BEET BOURGUIGNON
This is one of those dishes that works well making a day in a advance. The flavors will become more intense and the vegetables more tender.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 small beets peeled & quartered (we used Chioggia beets)
- 4 medium sized carrots sliced in large pieces
- 2 sprigs thyme
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tsp arrowroot powder solved in 2 tbsp water (optional)
- 2 cups puy lentils for serving
- 4 cups water
- a pinch of sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 portobello mushrooms
- 10 champignon mushroom
- 10 small pearl onions, peeled.
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or a large cast iron pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic, sauté until soft. Toss beets, carrots, thyme and salt and pepper into the pan, cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste, red vine, vegetable stock and bay leaves, let simmer on low heat for 40 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the lentils, mushrooms and pearl onions.
Preparing the Puy lentils: Rinse lentils under running water. Bring water to a boil, add lentils and lower to medium heat. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, when almost done add salt. Set aside. Searing the mushrooms and pearl onion: Heat olive oil in a pan. Lower the heat and sear the portobello, champignon mushrooms and pearl onions, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden in color. Season to taste.
Set aside. Finishing the stew: Taste the stew, add more wine, stock or herbs if you like. If you prefer the stew a little thicker, add arrowroot mixture, but this is optional. Add mushrooms and onions and simmer for 10 more minutes. To serve, spoon the stew over a plate of lentils and sprinkle with fresh thyme.