March 2, 2011

Orange-Balsamic Glazed Beets

I know, not everyone is the beet fanatic that I am. Maybe it's the purple fingers (and counter, and cabinet...), maybe it's the earthy sweetness (um, maybe dirt apples isn't actually such a bad description), but I adore them. And I'm confident that someone, somewhere will be just as excited as I am at the prospect of a bowlful of tender, sticky-sweet orange-balsamic glazed beets. Probably.

I didn't mean to buy them at the farmer's market this weekend, really. But were cheap and gigantic, and how can you possibly say no to this guy:

Monster beet!
Okay, maybe I do have a problem...

Anyway, I got home with my bunch of awesomely gigantor beets, and lo and behold, Simply Recipes had a brand-shiny new balsamic-glazed beets recipe up. I think Jesus wanted me to have purple pee this week (um, okay, I guess I definitely have a problem).

This really isn't that recipe, but it's not too far off. They're cousins, maybe. I wanted more orange flavor and less roasting involved (it was 85 degrees here on Monday! That is just not roasting weather, and I refuse to turn on the air conditioner in February. Refuse.). I know roasting is the more popular method for beets, but I think steaming is so much simpler. It's quicker, the cleanup is easier, and it's easier to do a quick stab to check for doneness. Most importantly, they're super tasty that way.

Tossed with the orange-balsamic glaze, they're fantastic. You end up with a sweet, fruity bowl of beets that I could happily sit down to with nothing else to accompany it. They're also delicious tossed into a salad with baby greens, asparagus, tangy goat cheese, and either a balsamic vinaigrette or pesto (which I have a freezer full of, since I can't bring myself to toss out the beet greens).

Word of caution, though: simmering balsamic vinegar is a pungent activity. I didn't think it was too bad, but my boys have gone on the record saying things like, "The feet are done," and more eloquently, "I didn't want to say anything, but it smells like butt in here." Totally worth it, but maybe save this recipe for an open-windows kind of day.

So delicious, but so stinky.
Orange-Balsamic Glazed Beets

One bunch beets, quartered 
Juice of 1 orange
About half  an orange worth of zest
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon white sugar

Steam beets in steam basket over simmering water until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel beets (the peels should slip off pretty easily, but sometimes I scrape with a spoon to help the process along).

While beets steam, simmer other ingredients in a skillet over medium heat until reduced to about half (the mixture will thicken to the point where, if you drag a spatula through it, it will take a couple seconds to fill back in).

Toss beets with the glaze and refrigerate until cool. Enjoy alone or in a salad.


  1. I love you. And I must admit, I'm turning into a beetaholic myself... I don't think that we can be too ashamed of vegetable addictions. PLUS, purple pee is extra cool in my book.
    I need to try some of your recipes - they look excellent. I've yet to stray from the veg medley with a dash of balsamic roast. However, the second to last time that I made ^, I overcooked them and everything was mush by day 2. So I tossed the purple mess into a food processor with bonzos, lemon, plain yogurt and spices --> killer hummus. Alex gave it an "Oh yeah" upon first bite. And its extra pretty too - raspberry sorbet-esque.

  2. Yes!! I knew there must be SOMEONE else who loves beets, and I should've known it would be you. I will for shizzle try your purply hummus. And Erik won't go near beets, so I won't even have to share!