Thursday, October 29, 2009

Still Learning to Love the Beet

Perhaps I still don’t like beets, but I am making progress, and you can’t say I’m not trying. Usually if there is a food one does not care for, one may just ignore it, but the beets will go on as long as I subscribe to this CSA. I really like these Beet and Carrot Burgers, and I’ll roast beets with other vegetables, so I decided I was ready to try something a little more bold. I still could only tolerate "safety" beet recipes, but I was getting braver.

Well, when one considers this dish, which is based on a variation of a recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, unique may be a better word than bold. It combines black beans, oranges and beets in a slightly sweet, somewhat fruity, but still earthy concoction that probably could be categorized as a stew. I figured it was worth a shot. If I didn’t like beets anyway, I really couldn’t ruin them by trying this dish.

I tried it a few times last year, and decided it needed more orange and some spice and that the beets needed to cook longer than in the original recipe. I tried partially cooking the beets a couple different ways, and I think a combination of pre-cooking them in the microwave and sautéing them with the aromatics and peppers before simmering is probably the best way to go. The recipe below includes instructions for that.

This dish has kind of a funky color to it from the beets and the red wine. Perhaps it would be welcome on a slightly spooky Halloween table. It’s good served over rice or with cornbread or corn muffins. Sure, I can taste the beets in the dish, but I can handle it once again. Gosh, I seem to be becoming less of a beetroot hater with each dish I try. Who knows? Maybe next I can tackle my dislike of pineapple on pizza….don’t count on it.

Black Beans with Beets and Oranges Recipe
Based on a recipe in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

I like to cook dried beans for dishes like this, but canned beans are just fine. You may have to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe depending on the style of beans you use.

1 cup peeled and diced (1/2-inch) beets
2 oranges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, preferably red, yellow or orange (green is fine), chopped
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small chile pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
½ cup dry red wine
3 cups black beans with 1 cup cooking liquid, or canned black beans, undrained
2 teaspoons ground cumin
chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Place the diced beets in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 2 minutes.

2. Peel one orange. Set the peel aside. Section and chop the orange and set aside. Juice the second orange and set the juice aside.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, partially cooked beets, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook 8 minutes, or until onion and pepper are softened and beginning to brown, stirring often. Add the garlic and chile pepper and cook 1 minute more.

4. Add the red wine and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the beans and their liquid, the orange peel, cumin and remaining salt. (If you are using canned beans, you may want to taste the dish before adding all of the salt.) Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook about 30 minutes, or until beets are tender.

5. Remove the orange peel. Stir in the orange juice and chopped orange sections. Taste for salt and add more if necessary. Serve with rice or cornbread or corn muffins.

Makes 5 or 6 servings.

No comments:

Post a Comment