On days when my daughter is out at one of her friend’s houses for tea, those of us left back at home get to eat something other than pizza or pasta. Not that there’s anything wrong with pizza or pasta, just not every day. So, some nights we’ll have aubergine, a risotto, lentils or goat’s cheese… it’s a long list. Tonight’s forbidden food was beetroot.
I grow three varieties of beetroot – ‘Bull’s Blood’ for young leaves to add to salads, and ‘Boltardy’ and ‘Chioggia’ for the roots. They’re easy to grow and relatively trouble-free. Even the slugs will take most other vegetables before they get on to the beetroot, which has been a big factor in favour of beetroot this summer.
After chocolate beetroot brownies, probably my favourite way to cook beetroot is baking them with cream and parmesan. This recipe comes from one of the best grow your own cookbooks ever – Gardener Cook by Christopher Lloyd. I love Christopher Lloyd’s writing – the stories, practical advice and recipes in this book are enough to encourage anyone to have a go at growing some fruit or veg – and then cooking it. There may even be a recipe in there to tempt my daughter to try something new!
Baked beetroot is my offering for September’s Simple and in Season, hosted by Katie at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter. It’s early in the month yet, but already there are great seasonal (and simple) recipes to inspire you – especially if you’re looking for ideas to use up a bumper harvest from the garden.
Baked beetroot with cream and parmesan
adapted from the recipe in Gardener Cook
7 golf ball sized beetroot
butter for greasing an ovenproof dish
1 tsp fresh dill leaves, finely chopped
4 tbsp double cream
2 tbsp grated parmesan
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 150oC, 300oF, Gas 2.
Twist off the leaves (leave the long roots), and gently wash any soil from the beetroot. Wrap them loosely in a double thickness of foil. Put the foil parcel on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for about 2 hours – until the beetroot are tender right through. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a while. When the beetroot are cool enough to handle, cut off the roots and tops and peel off the skins.
Increase the oven temperature to 200oC, 400oF, Gas 6.
Slice the beetroot and lay them in a buttered ovenproof dish. Whisk the chopped dill into the cream and spoon it evenly over the beetroot, sprinkle with grated parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper.
Bake for another 15 minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the parmesan is starting to brown.