Forget cooking. It’s been chilly in my corner of the world. I’d like to crank the oven and just sit in my kitchen with a good book. Because honestly, I’m having a little trouble finding my Sippity Sup mojo lately. It seems to happen to me every year just after the rush of the holidays. It’s a bit like postpartum depression I imagine. Not that a food blog is like a baby. Oh wait, what am I saying? That’s exactly what a food blog is like. Because in order to thrive, a blog takes constant care and feeding.
So I’ve decided the drab weather is Los Angeles calls for something vibrant enough to get my mojo back in line. Roast beets can provide that vivid pop of color even in the dead of winter. Just the mojo-enhancing inspiration I need. Besides, I like to roast beets. You can crank the oven on a cold day and get a lot of impact with very little effort. Roasting beets can be as simple as tossing them with olive oil, wrapping them in foil and sticking them in the oven. That’s exactly how I’ve done it for years. But is it the best way?
How to Roast Beets for Maximum Flavor
Sometime in our past we humans were digging around in the dirt looking for grubs and worms to eat when we hit upon the idea of eating roots. The world has been a better place ever since. There are many ways to enjoy these vegetables from the underworld, but roasting is just about my favorite. Roasting root vegetables, like beets, intensifies their flavors and brings out their distinctive, rustic charm. It actually amplifies their inherent richness and bolsters their sugars.
As I said it can be a very simple process. But the thing about simple foods is in order for them to succeed you need to be sure the simple method you choose is not just simply a short-cut, but rather the fast lane to perfection.
Lately, I’ve upped my game when I try and answer the question of how to roast beets by including simple aromatics like citrus peels, halved garlic cloves and herbs. I’ve also discovered that just a little bit of water in the pan helps cook the beets more evenly with steam heat.
Most importantly don’t just stick them in the oven and forget them. Add more water during the cooking process if needed. Beets will likely take from 40 to 60 minutes to cook properly. They’re finished cooking when they feel slightly resistant to pressure all the way through the vegetable. So make sure and poke them to the center before deciding they’re done.
Beets of different sizes and varieties may have different cooking times which means you need to be extra diligent. Even beets of different colors can cook at different rates. Start checking them about 40 minutes into the cooking process. If you wait too long, beets can begin to feel fluffy when poked which means they’re probably overcooked.
Lastly, roasted beets peel much easier than raw beets. Once the beets come out of the oven wait until they’re just cool enough to handle. Then slice off leaf end and push skins away using your thumbs. If it doesn’t easily strip off, the beets probably need more time in the oven. Try another 10 minutes.
So that how to roast beets for this simple Beets Salad with Grapefruit, Frisée and Minted Crème Fraîche. I can taste the mojo already. GREG