Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Roast Beets, a Staple of Dead-of-Winter Cooking

Now that the gift of an extended growing season is over, it's time to start employing root vegetables—staples of dead-of-winter cooking—in earnest.

As part of last night's dinner, I roasted some really small golden and purple beets I bought at Whole Foods. Often beets are sold with their greens, but many markets will also have a bin for loose beets, which is where I found mine. Depending on the store, the price for organic loose beets can range from $1.50 to $2 per pound.

To roast beets, simply wrap them in aluminum foil. Wrapping together is fine, there's no reason to wash and the skins will easily slip off after cooking. Place the beets in a 350 degree oven (I use my toaster oven) and, depending on the size, the beets should be done in 30 to 60 minutes. The beets are done when the tip of a sharp knife easily pierces the meat of the beet.

The beets can leak their juices during cooking, so use a baking sheet or piece of foil to prevent a mess in your oven. After the beets have cooled, use a towel to remove their skins; if the beets are cooked, the skins will slide right off.

If you not going to eat the beets immediately, store in the refrigerator with their skins still on. Peel before eating.

By the way, the above photo is by D.A. Wagner, a friend and very talented photographer who took the photos on the homepage of the Cook with Class website.

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