M. Andrew Gordon

Beets with Cranberries

In Side Dishes on October 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm

IMG_2951I really feel bad for the people who don’t like beets.  I’m not sure what the aversion is to them.  Is it their rough and dusty exterior?  Is it the potential to stain everything in your house when preparing them?  Is it long-suppressed childhood memories of metallic-tasting canned beets?  I don’t know, but I’m glad I do not suffer from such an aversion.

As much as I like beets, however, I do struggle with finding appropriate ways to prepare and eat them.  You can slice the things and cook them but while the flavor will be fine, I’ve always found big hunks of beet on a plate to burden the whole dining experience.  And as far as preparing them goes, there just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of imagination out there with beets.  The roasted beet salad has gained popularity recently, perhaps to its detriment, and Harvard Beets are pretty decent.  I even like beets raw, though that seems more a late summer/first-of-the-season type of dish.  But there isn’t that one great beet dish, at least for me.  Just a great vegetable.

So I started to think about beets and wondered how they would be with cranberries.  While I had never seen them together it seems to make perfect sense: both come into their own in the fall, one is sweet and the other is tart, helping to balance things out.  Of course, a little extra sugar wouldn’t hurt as fresh cranberries are rather tart…why not add some maple syrup?  And hell, why not throw some pecans in there for added texture?

The final dish is about as simple as you can get from an ingredients standpoint.  And even the preparation is not terribly difficult.  The beets get nice and soft in their time in the oven, the cranberries do add a nice, tart jolt next to the sweetness of the beets and syrup, and the pecans did add a nice crunch.  It would pair well with roasted chicken or turkey and might be good next to pork.  As I was eating, however, I started to envision this as a pie or crisp filling, with some shredded apple mixed in.  An apple-beet-cranberry crisp sounds like something served in colonial Massachusetts.  Will I try making said pie/crisp?  Perhaps.

Beets with CranberriesIMG_2958

  • 3 medium beets, peeled
  • 1 cup cranberries, cleaned
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.  Using a box grater or food processor, grate beets and keep in large mixing bowl.
  2. In food processor, pulse cranberries with sugar until chopped.  Alternately, chop cranberries by hand and toss with sugar.
  3. Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat and melt butter.  In bowl, combine shredded beets, chopped cranberries, and maple syrup and stir to combine.  When butter has melted, add beets to skillet and cook for several minutes.  Chop pecans and sprinkle over beets.
  4. Place skillet in oven and cook for 20 minutes.
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  1. Wow! Beets are my FAVORITE food. I could eat them all day. I usually just roast them or boil them if I’m lazy. I wonder if roasting them without their skin with some maple syrup would be good, like with carrots.

  2. I will definitely be attempting some version of this in the near future! Christie is the beet expert in the household so I will likely leave it to her. It’s great to see you spreading beet-love!

  3. You should definitely try this or some variation of it. It was also really good out of the refrigerator this afternoon. I’m looking forward to creating more beet dishes in the coming months, so hopefully I’ll come up with some good ones.

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