Growing up, I thought beets came in glass jars in a sticky sweet and sour sauce, AKA Harvard Beets, and I liked them, as my mother must have. Likewise, I always thought cooked spinach had vinegar on it. I guess my mother liked vinegar-based dressings on vegetables. Later, I discovered that fresh vegetables could be cooked more simply and it turns out that I like them better that way, maybe with butter, salt, and pepper.
You might be getting the notion from this blog that I spend most of my free time roasting vegetables. Not true, but I do like the dry-heat cooking that keeps them from being all watery and mushy, so I might be more likely to roast them than to boil them in water. Second to roasting vegetables would be pan frying or sautéing.
Roasted beets are a real treat, not one we eat all the time, mostly because of their sweetness and where they fall on the glycemic index scale, even though there is contradictory evidence from those who tout the significance of the glycemic load. See some information on these two topics here: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/foods/grains/gigl.html
Anyway, they were delicious.
Preheat oven to 350-375°
- Trim beets by cutting stems close to the beet and cutting off root so they are easy to wrap in foil. If you can leave the root tip on, it will prevent some juices from escaping during roasting. I do cut off the root close to the beet.
- I roast beets as I would roast a bulb of garlic, drizzled with olive oil and closed in a foil pouch. You could put several small beets in a single pouch.
- Roast pouches at 350-375° on a baking pan for 40-60 mins. Test with a meat fork; they should be tender but not overcooked and falling apart.
- Let rest in opened pouches for about ten minutes, as you would let meat rest before cutting to retain juices.
- Slip the peels off with your fingers. The peels slide right off. You should not peel beets before cooking or you will lose much of the beet juices and flavor in cooking. Warning: wear gloves if worried about your manicure because beet dye is persistent.
- Slice or cut in chunks. Serve as is or with butter and salt.