Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Can’t Beet a Good Burger?

Every fall I look forward to candied red beets, my favorite autumn treat with a flavor as deep and complex as its color. Rich, dark, earthy and sweet as candy — it’s my favorite way of dressing up that same-old-same-old burger. Put those pickles away, it’s time you met the Candied Beet Burger. These beauties came from my friend Eric’s garden.

Beets are naturally high in sugar and range in colors from dark yellow to pumpkin orange to the deepest burgundy red. I’m not so keen on canned beets, they are best when you roast or boil them yourself. It's not hard to do but it can get messy. Here are some instructions.

Candied Red Beets
You have to cook them first. Select beets of similar size to ensure even cooking, remove the greens then soak and wash them thoroughly to remove any grit. Peel them after they are cooked and have cooled down. Larger beets (over 2" in diameter) are best roasted in your oven. Otherwise you can just boil smaller beets (under 2").

Baking instructions for large beets:
Lightly coat the beets (with skins) with Canola oil and place in a baking dish. Set oven to 300°, cover dish with tin foil and bake for about an hour. When you can stick a fork through the skin your beets are done.

Boiling instructions for small beets:
In a large pot bring water to a boil. Place beets (with skins) into the water. There should be enough water should cover the beets. Lover heat to medium, cover and cook for about an hour. When you can stick a fork through the skin your beets are done.

Now this part can be a mess that resembles a CSI crime scene. If you don’t own a paper Hazmat suit wear an apron and put down lots of newspaper over your working area, you might want to wear gloves too. Drain the beets in a large colander and let beets cool enough to handle. Cut off the root tips and crown. To peel use a butter knife. The peels should rub off easily, but if not just use a vegetable peeler.

Candying instructions:
- 1/8 tsp of each: powdered ginger, sea salt, cumin (optional)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar.
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 cups sliced cooked beets
- Large covered sauce pan

You should make enough for the week, but work in smaller batches. Bring a large sauce pan to medium heat and add enough honey to cover the bottom. Add dry ingredients and dissolve into honey. Slice beets into rounds that are about 3/8 of an inch thick and place beets in a bowl to collect the red liquid. Place beets and juice into the pan to a depth of two layers. Add the rest of honey and stir. Cover and cook for half an hour stirring every 10 minutes. The beets are done when you can put a fork through their centers. Remove from heat and let them cool. Place beets with juice in a covered container and store refrigerated. Use these on you burger instead of pickles. Now... does anyone have a good tip for getting beet stains out of a wooden counter top?

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