Friday, 5 February 2010

Beet Orzotto

In the fall I bought a 10 pound bag of beets. They were on sale for $2, or I wouldn't have. I've mentioned before; as a kid I hated beets with a passion. The idea that I could go through a 10 pound bag before winter was over would have completely astonished me. However, it's true. I have enough left for one batch of borscht, and then I'll be out. Looks like leopards can occasionally change their spots.

I'm not such a lover of beets, though, that I don't think this isn't improved by a good hit of cheese, which makes me think it's better as the main dish of your meal, with a salad to keep it company. However, you could keep the cheese down and serve it with a piece of meat, poultry or fish.

4 to 6 servings
20 minutes prep time - plus 1 hour to cook the barley & beets

Beet Orzotto
Cook the Barley & Beets:
4-5 medium beets
3/4 cup barley
a pinch of salt
various quantities of water

Wash the beets and place them, whole and unpeeled, in a pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and boil them steadily for about 45 minutes, until tender.

Cook the barley by putting it in the rice cooker with 2 1/4 cups water and a pinch of salt. Turn it on and cook it... both these things should be done one day ahead.

Make the Orzotto:
1 medium onion
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup white wine
100 grams (4 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and black pepper to taste

more cheese to finish, if desired

Peel the beets, and cut them into fairly fine dice. There should be about 2 cups of them. Peel and chop the onion, and peel and mince the garlic. Put the stock in its own pot to heat, and heat to simmering. Heat the oil in a large skillet

Sauté the onion until soft and lightly browned. Add the garlic and continue sautéing for another minute or two. Add the beets and the barley, crumbled to separate the grains. Add the sage.

Begin adding the stock, stirring well between each addition. Since it isn't a lot of stock, I break it up into 3 additions. Let it be mostly absorbed by the orzotto between each addition. Stir frequently.

When the last of the stock has been added and is mostly absorbed, add the wine and parmesan. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. As soon as the orzotto achieves a texture that you like, it is ready to serve.

If you are serving it as the main part of the meal - perhaps with a crunchy salad - you could sprinkle some more cheese over it; Parmesan, Cheddar or even blue cheeses would all be good.

Last year at this time I made Stuffed Baked Potatoes.


Joanne said...

If you had told me three weeks ago that I would ever cook ANYTHING with beets I would have told you that you were crazy. But now I've made two recipes with them in two weeks. So go figure.

I'm probably still not at hte point where i could eat such a beet-intense dish but I hope I get there soon! beautiful color.

Ferdzy said...

I was 30 before I could stand to eat a beet, so you are way ahead already. And even at the height of my hatred for beets I would have had to concede that they were very beautiful.