Friday, September 14, 2012

Roasted Beets with Honey & Lemon

I'm a confirmed beet lover and could eat them at every meal.  I know, though, that beets are not America's favorite veggie. An Eating Well blog includes them among the top five "most hated vegetables" in the U.S.   (What's America's most favorite vegetable?  Apparently, according to a report in Bloomburg News, it's potatoes!) 

Roasting beets is one way to persuade a confirmed beet hater to give them another try. Roasting caramelizes the sugars in the beets and makes very sweet yet they still retain their savory earthiness. I'm not promising that the beet haters in your life will convert after you serve these--but I am suggesting it's a worth a try!

Roasted Beets with Honey & Lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Figure on about 1 large, 2 medium or 3 small beets per person.  I usually roast extra since the oven's on and I'm happy to eat roasted beets throughout the week.  It's best if you roast similarly-sized beets in the same pan (that is, not mixing large and small beets together).  Truth be told, though, I usually throw 'em all in together when I'm short on time.

Wash the beets well and cut off their tops, leaving about 1 inch of the stalks. (This ensures the beets won't bleed too much during roasting.)  Select a roasting or baking dish that is large enough to hold all of your beets in one layer. Line it with a piece of aluminum foil that is large enough to cover the bottom of the pan AND fold over to fully envelop the beets.  Drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil on the foil.  Place the beets in the pan, tossing them in the oil and drizzling more oil on them to be sure every beet is covered with olive oil.  Sprinkle kosher salt on the beets--at least a pinch for each beet.  Fold the foil over the beets, being sure to securely crimp the edges together to keep the heat inside.  The beets will roast and steam in this packet.  Place in the pre-heated oven for at least 40 and up to 60 or 65 minutes (depending on how big your beets are).  Remove from the oven and let them sit on the counter until cool enough to handle--about 20 minutes.  This extra time will enable them to cook a bit longer, too.

Remove the beets from their foil packet and slip off their skins.  Cut them into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a bowl.  I had about 2 cups of beets when all was said and done.  Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (go ahead and used bottled if that's what you have) and 2 to 3 tablespoons honey over the beets, tossing to mix thoroughly.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.  You can serve them as is at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate them to serve cold later.  You can also add some fresh lemon zest to zing up the lemon flavor a bit and/or some chopped parsley to add color.  If so, add the parsley just before serving.

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