My husband hates beets. I mean really hates them - he hates the taste, hates the smell of them roasting in the oven, hates what they look like as they recline gloriously in the refrigerator. So since he's out of town this week, and the theme is roots, I HAD to make something with beets. All evidence of the crime will be completely erased by the time he gets home on Saturday. And that's not easy with beets.
I've done beets a million ways, but this week I had something new in mind. I wanted to try to layer them in a Pommes Anna style and roast them. Honestly, I ran out of time to try various ways of doing the roasting, but what I can tell you is that the way I did it worked like a charm. I first roasted the beets wrapped in foil until they were just tender, sliced them as thinly as I could manage and then layered them in an oven-proof pan, layered with a sauce made of reduced apple cider, butter and maple syrup. I added a few sprigs of fresh time on top and sealed it all in foil to roast again. I reserved some of the yummy sauce to pour on it when it came out of the oven. The result was a tender, beautiful Beets Anna scented lightly with thyme that just melted in my mouth with the maple butter. It held together beautifully and kept its shape when sliced, which I had been concerned about since beets can be slippery little devils. The overall result: sublime.
I chose not to go with a topping and just kept it simple, but you could top this with crumbled bacon or some cracked walnuts. - ChezSuzanne —TheWimpyVegetarian
Test Kitchen Notes
Beets are a divider food; I happen to be on the "love 'em" side of the dividing line so I was thrilled to test ChezSuzanne's glorious recipe. If you are a beet fan, do not hesitate to make this dish. The beets are roasted then assembled into an elegant presentation. The maple butter is a little tangy from the cider, and it melds perfectly with the earthy sweetness of the beets. The thyme gently perfumes the whole dish. Make sure to season well with salt and pepper, lest the dish be too sweet. I used a regular 8-inch sauté pan, and sprayed it with some non-stick cooking spray before assembly. I flipped mine over as described in the recipe, but removed the pan immediately. The beet "cake" stayed perfectly intact in all its jewel-toned, glistening glory. This is delicious as is, and even better with a sprinkle of toasted walnuts and gorgonzola. I highly recommend you make this for any beet lover you want to impress. - hardlikearmour —hardlikearmour
pounds beets (not including the leaf stalks attached)
2 - 3
tablespoons olive oil
cup apple cider
tablespoons maple syrup
salt and pepper
2 - 3
sprigs fresh thyme
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove the stalks from the beets and scrub them. Rub them in enough olive oil to cover them and wrap them individually in foil. Roast until just tender. For the size of my beets, this took about an hour. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Pour the apple cider in a pot and reduce it to 1/2 cup. Add the butter and maple syrup and continue to heat until the butter is melted.
Remove the skins from the beets - they should just slide right off - and thinly slice. Start to layer them in a pan (I used a 6" non-stick pan), slightly overlapping them as you move around the bottom of the pan. When you have 1 layer down, lightly salt and pepper them with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Using a tablespoon, pour 2 tablespoons of maple butter over the top. Add another layer of beets, overlapping them as before and repeat the pinch of salt and pepper and 2 - 3 tablespoons of maple butter. I did a total of 3 layers and had several beet slices left over. Make sure you have some maple butter left over for serving.
Increase the oven to 425 F. Heat the beets over medium heat until the maple butter sauce is simmering all around the beets for about 3 - 4 minutes. Place the thyme sprigs on top and cover the pan with foil.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.
To flip the Beets Anna out of the pan, I placed a plate over the pan and then quickly flipped them over so that the pan was upside down over the plate. I was concerned about the beets sliding around a bit, so I kept the pan over it for another 15 minutes before removing it. It's possible you don't need to do this, but it worked great!
Reheat the maple butter and drizzle it on the top. Sprinkle some thyme leaves on top before serving.