After you photograph fresh beets from every angle, what does one do with them? Well, "waste not, want not", I cooked them despite seeing repulsed expressions on Peter's face out of the corner of my eye. The very good news for me is that beets don't really have a distinct odor like Brussels sprouts do - raw or cooked, so his complaints were kept to a minimum. I found this intriguing recipe on Once Upon a Chef and set about making it - Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Beets.
Beets, as everyone knows, can stain anything including you, so wear an apron and gloves when you're preparing them. I didn't have any gloves in the house so my little sister, a beet lover herself, told me her secret - a baggie over each hand - and it worked like a charm. This recipe called for peeled beets, cut into chunks that are then tossed with olive oil and salt on a foil-lined sheet pan and roasted for a little over a half hour. Once they're cooked, they're tossed with a balsamic-maple syrup reduction and the result is simply sublime. To this date, I'd never eaten a fresh beet and I'm here to report that they are incredible. These were naturally sweet through and through with a smokey roasted flavor, and the touch of balsamic complements them perfectly. Since I made this dish, I've eaten it hot as well as cold, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - I really like them and may never return to the can.
Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Beets
6 medium beets (2 bunches or about 3½ pounds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400℉. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove the leafy stems and roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1½ inch chunks.
Place the cut beets on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing once with a spatula midway through, until the beets are tender when pierced with a thin-bladed knife.
Meanwhile, combine the vinegar and maple syrup in a small, shallow sauté pan. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is just slightly thickened and lightly coats the back of a metal spoon. It should be reduced by about half (or to about 3 tablespoons). Pay close attention and be sure not to over-reduce; it goes from sweet and syrupy to burnt and hard very quickly.
Toss the glaze with the roasted beets. Serve hot or cold.