Jamie Oliver's Smoked Beets

By • September 29, 2011 • 5 Comments

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Author Notes: A genius recipe adapted from Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life (Hyperion, 2008) by Jamie Oliver.

You can stop at the smoked beets portion -- keep them in the fridge and slice them up for salads or burgers all week long. But we recommend you proceed to the second part of the recipe: a dressing that could make a cottage cheese lover out of anyone.
Genius Recipes

Serves 4 as a side dish

For the smoked beets

  • 8 small beets, with greens if possible
  • 1 small bunch fresh rosemary

For the salad

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh tarragon or basil, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 4 heaped tablespoons cottage cheese
  • juice and zest from 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  1. First, light your charcoal barbecue or fire. Wash the beets and snip off the greens, reserving them. Fold a large piece of foil -- about 12-18" (24-36" unfolded), depending on the size of your beets -- in half to form a double layer. Lay the greens, then the beets, then the rosemary on top of the foil. (Note: if you don't have greens with your beets -- or want to save them to cook separately -- that's okay, just make sure the coals are at medium heat, not flaming, when you add your packet of beets.)
  2. Roll up the foil, folding in the edges and twisting the ends together. Stab the foil a few times all over with a knife to allow the smoke to get inside and flavor the beets. Lift the rack of your barbecue with tongs and carefully insert your foil package among the coals, making sure you place some coals on top too.
  3. Leave it to cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the beets are tender, then remove the package and allow it to cool down. Unwrap it and remove the beets, discarding the greens and rosemary sprigs.
  4. Once cooled slightly, peel the beets and discard the charred skin. The skins should slip right off, but if they don't, gently scrape them away with the back of a paring knife. Cut the beets into irregular chunks and place in a bowl. Add the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, plenty of salt and pepper and half the parsley and tarragon. Toss, have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  5. Put the cottage cheese into a bowl and add the juice and finely grated zest from half your lemon. Stir in 2 glugs of extra virgin olive oil, the thyme leaves and some salt and pepper and gently fold it all together, so the oil and lemon marble through the cottage cheese. Taste the dressing and squeeze in a bit more lemon juice if you like.
  6. To serve, divide the dressed beets between four salad plates. Top each plate with a spoonful of cottage cheese dressing. Scatter over the remaining herbs and enjoy!
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Comments (5) Questions (1)

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11 months ago divasparkle

I love the idea of smoky beets but lacking a garden/patio/balcony and thus a barbecue, I shall have to try roasting instead. The cottage cheese topping is inspired. And Merrill's tip for zesting the lemon is genius. Can't wait to try it out!

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about 3 years ago Regine

Very nice. But hey I am a miss shortcut so I replaced the smoked beets with 2 cans of sliced beets which I rinsed, patted dry and chopped into irregular pieces. So for those of you who want to continue to enjoy the nice dressing but in a quick fast food type of way, use 2 cans of beets. Also you don't need to buy all these herbs. Next time I may try to just use thyme which I love and parsley and/or cilantro. I could easily do without the tarragon! I will make this again soon. Tastes really good with grilled and/or jerk chicken.

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about 3 years ago The Food Sage

This, with the macaroni cheese, sound like a dream team.

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about 3 years ago cookbookchick

You will find quite a number of comments on the Genius Recipe page that introduced it. Here's the link: http://www.food52.com/blog...

Funny that you mention subbing the beet greens with banana leaves -- once, after a vacation in Hawaii, I tried a Hawaiian recipe that called for banana leaves, but I was at home in in Upstate NY, so I used freshly picked Swiss chard instead!

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about 3 years ago LoisonMaui

I'm shocked at not finding a host of great comments re: this beet recipe. We made this recipe just as instructed but used banana leaves because we couldn't find fresh beets with the greens left on - here on Maui. The beets were awesome. You can make ahead. It was creative to plan to put the cottage cheese drizzle on top as that way they don't turn RED. We've decided this is a must when serving guests.