Posts Tagged 'beets'

Beets The Heck Out Of Store Bought

My wife loves beets. It’s a fact. She loves them steamed, roasted, grilled, raw, and pickled. On salads, with vegetables, as a side. It doesn’t matter. The woman loves beets. And that’s how a lot of my canning adventures start. Trying to impress the woman that loves me unconditionally.

I found myself at an Asian grocer tonight trying to find the ingredients for pickled ginger. And while I was wandering through aisles of various dehydrated fish products, candy made from vegetables, and exotic sauces I found a big display of Beets; 69 Cents/Lb. Now I don’t know if that is a great price, but it definitely seemed like a fair price. I picked up about 8 pounds of beets, a bag of pearl onions, a gallon of pickling vinegar, and a white onion.

The only thing I’ve done previously is dice and roast beets with other root vegetables. So I was not sure just how easy this task was going to be. Everything turned out better than expected.

20120921-025136.jpg
Pickled Beets
8lbs Beets
1 Bag Pearl Onions
1/2 White Onion
2 Cinnamon Sticks
12 Cloves
12 Allspice Berries
4 Cups Vinegar
2 Cups Water
2 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 t Salt

If your beets come with the greens attached just trim them above the bulb. The idea is to trim them, but not to cut in to the beet.

Cover the beets in water and bring to a boil.

20120921-024337.jpg
Boil the beets for approximately 45 minutes. Mine were the size of baseballs, and 45 minutes was perfect.

While the beets are boiling heat a medium pan of water to boil. Then drop in your pearl onions and boil for 3 minutes. Place the onions in an ice bath to cool.

20120921-025301.jpg
Remove the onions one at a time and cut off the root end. Then squeeze the flower end and the onion pops right out. If part of the center of the onion pops out just push it back in.

20120921-025426.jpg
Repeat until all your onions are liberated.

20120921-025457.jpg
When your beets are cooked drain them and place them in an ice bath. Be careful when removing them. The skin of the beets sloughs off very easily now and it’s a bit like trying to grab a wet bar of soap. The next step involves a slippery beet and a sharp knife so be careful. Cut off the root end and the leaf end.

20120921-025706.jpg
Then remove the skin. This is seriously so easy. Way easier than peaches. And even easier than tomatoes. I just passed the beet back and forth in my hands working it in circles. Almost like a pitcher does with a baseball.

20120921-025844.jpg
To make it even easier I did it under running water. This washed the peels away and also prevented my hands from looking like I spent the day with Ed Gein. Now tomato skins come off easily. But I’m always afraid of damaging the tomato. The beets however are hard and solid which made this part so easy.

20120921-030116.jpg
Cut your beet however you like. I’ve seen slices, cubes, chunks, crinkle cut caterpillar looking pieces. Whatever. Just try to keep the pieces uniform in size. I decided to cut the beet in half and then slice the halves in to 1/4 inch slices.

20120921-030311.jpg
I rinsed my hands repeatedly through this process and avoided looking like a MASH surgeon. The extremely rich and dark color of the beet is amazing to me. I was trying to imagine what purpose it serves in nature. An attractant to pollinators? A pesticide? I have no idea. If you know, please share. I just know I love the color.

20120921-030519.jpg
Mix your vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large pot over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Place your clove, allspice, and cinnamon in cheesecloth and add it to the pot. Then increase heat to a boil. Slice your half onion in to strips. Add the white onion and pearl onions to the beets and add them to the pickling liquid.

20120921-030633.jpg
Allow it all to return to a boil and them simmer for 5 minutes. You know the part about clean hot jars, funnels, labels , rings, and lids by now, right? Fill your jars with the beets, packing it down, and adding pickling liquid, if needed, to the 1/2″ headspace. Use your little canning tool to remove air bubbles.

20120921-031130.jpg
Wipe the rims, place the lids, and finger tighten the bands. Process in a water bath canner for 30 minutes (pints or quarts). If I hadn’t mentioned it before, adding a splash if vinegar to your water bath eliminates the white hard water stains on your jars. 30 minutes later, you’ve got the beets, you’ve got the beets. Yeah! You’ve got the beets!

20120921-031448.jpg

20120921-031458.jpg
I haven’t tried these yet. I’m a firm believer that pickled need to sit for a while to become better. I’ll give the 1st jar at least a month before opening. But I’ll report back.

Happy Canning.

Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

As the wife left for the gym she told me to make dinner, using the whole chicken that was in the fridge. As I pulled the chicken from the refrigerator I opened up the vegetable drawer to figure out what else we might have with it. I found a parsnip, three beets, a bag of carrots, some fennel and a bag of potatoes. Seemed like it was going to be chicken and root vegetables for dinner. I decided to throw together a recipe based loosely on portions of the recipe that I use for my Thanksgiving turkey, recipes that I had previously used for roast chicken, as well as some recipes that my wife uses for side dishes. It was very successful so I thought I would share it.

Roast Chicken With Root Vegetables
1 Whole Chicken
1 Parsnip
3 Beets
5 Carrots
1 Head Fennel
5-10 small potatoes
Rosemary
Garlic
Thyme
Olive Oil
Salt And Pepper

I go from the chicken to seasonings to vegetables and back throughout this recipe. I also washed my hands about 12 times. Remember not to cross contaminate.

Oven to 475.

Rinse the chicken, remove the neck and gibblets, and pat dry with a paper towel.

Salt and pepper the cavity. Crush 4 cloves of garlic with the edge of your knife. Throw the garlic in the cavity along with 2-3 sprigs of thyme and rosemary. I found myself short of fresh thyme, so I used dried but in the future I’d use fresh.

Drizzle olive oil on the bird and rub to coat. Like a little chicken back rub. Season the exterior liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. And I do mean liberally. My bird looked as sparkly as a Liberace costume when I was done.

20120828-211804.jpg

Now we’re going to get all trussed up with no where to go. Have you ever trussed a chicken? It’s not difficult if you can tie shoes.

Put the chicken breast side up, legs pointed toward you. Grab a length of butcher’s twine. I usually go for about 2-3 feet so I don’t end up short. Hold the ends up to find the halfway point. Put the center of the twine under what I would call the shoulders of the bird and run it up on top of the wings.

20120828-212448.jpg
Bring the twine over the legs against the rib cage. Under the end of the rib cage cross the twine and cinch it up. (taking this picture was not easy)

20120828-212642.jpg
Move the legs in tight, cross the twine again, and wrap it around the legs just behind the knuckles. I pull the twine tight, cross it, and wrap the legs again. Tie a bow, tuck the wing tips under the body, and you’re done.

20120828-213041.jpg

Set the chicken aside and get ready to prep vegetables. I do it in this order because it gives the chicken more time to get to room temperature, which provides for more even cooking.

20120828-213310.jpg
I peeled the parsnip and beets, but everything else was just washed. Chopping vegetables is easy. My end goal was just to have approximately 1″ pieces. Put all the vegetables in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper and then toss by hand.
The beet stains on the parsnips reminded me a bit of bananas in strawberry syrup.

20120828-213756.jpg
Place the chicken right on top of the vegetables.

20120828-214257.jpg

20120828-214729.jpg
Throw it in the oven and set a timer for 25 minutes. This makes the skin fabulously crispy. Then drop the heat to 400 and set the time for another 45 minutes. The deepest part of the thigh should be 160 degrees.

20120828-214918.jpg

20120828-214926.jpg

Cut and remove the twine before serving.

Just a note. The beets either steamed or leeched into the bird, causing the fluid in the cavity to look exactly like blood. It freaked me out. The chicken appeared done, the temp was right, and the fluids coming from the joints were clear. It took me a minute to figure out what had happened.

The end result was chicken skin so deliciously salty and crispy that I would have eaten it like a bag of chips given the opportunity, meat that was moist and flavorful, and a variety of vegetables that were cooked perfectly and paired great with the chicken. I served it with Odessa’s Cranberry Sauce that you can find in its own post from last year. And the whole meal was fantastic.

20120828-215556.jpg


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 366 other followers