Heirloom beets are one of the earlier crops to be planted, and one of the first to be enjoyed early in the Spring. Here’s a great recipe with an unusual preparation that really brings out the earthy goodness of fresh home-grown beets. The secret is slow roasting at about 300°F for almost an hour. I prefer to do this in our charcoal fired Kamado grill, a Japanese clay covered BBQ which holds the heat amazingly well and gives an incredible rich but lightly smoky flavor. The beets turn out heavenly, and I’m often asked what I did to make them so delicious. Oven roasted is a very good second choice, just make sure to roast them slow and long – it caramelizes the sugars in the beets, making them a surprise all of their own.
The Dijon mustard plays a nice counterpoint to the richness of the beets. For some additional flavors, add some heirloom carrots or overwintered onions to the mix- roast along with the beets! Keep in mind that young beets – less than 2 inches in diameter- are sweet like carrots.
Dijon Roasted Heirloom Beets
- 3 pounds beets, about 2 inches in diameter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Juice of one orange
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
- Trim stem and root from beets. Place whole beets in roasting pan; add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Roast at 400° for 45 minutes or until beets are tender. Beets are tender when easily pierced with a fork or toothpick.
- While beets are roasting whisk mustard, orange juice, sugar, and vinegar in bowl. Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and rosemary. Set aside.
- When beets are cool enough to handle, rub to remove skins; cut into quarters. Add warm beets to bowl and toss with dressing. Let stand 30 minutes while beets absorb dressing.
Makes approximately eight servings.