Friday, March 30, 2012

French Peasant Beets

A coworker of mine recently purchased a Rebel T2i, same camera I have, but chose to get the 50mm lens rather than the standard 18-55mm, the kit lens, and I have been seething ball of jealousy since seeing his first few pictures. Such clear quality in such low light! Every picture I took of these beets was met with disgust and so, after a quick check of my bank account, I gave in to desire and ordered a 50mm lens for myself. Can't wait!

No 50mm lens yet, but Picasa has instagram-style editing now!
For now, however: last Christmas I was given the Food52 cookbook, "140 winning recipes from exceptional home cooks" - a collection of winning recipes from Food52's weekly contests. Have you visited Food52 yet? Please take the time to pop over now. Amanda Hesser, of the immense and amazing The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and Merrill Stubbs, who assisted Amanda with the ENYTC, created Food52 first as a vehicle to create the "first crowd-sourced cookbook in 52 weeks" but it has since grown to a community where cooks of all caliber share recipes, tips, debate food news - there's even a real-time hotline to help you along any recipe's journey. Seriously, check it out.

Oh yeah, these beets . . . are delicious, though half the magic lies in the Bucheron cheese. Be sure to indulge yourself with this particular goat cheese: a firm, tangy center as you would expect from chevre but a creamy outer ring with a dreamy brie-like quality. Where has this cheese been all my life? Apparently in the French cheese section at Central Market. A reviewer on Food52 cookbook suggested adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar to take the dish from "good to really good"; I forgot to try this but I imagine they are correct.

French Peasant Beets
Amy N-B, as written in the Food52 Cookbook

4 to 6 beets with greens
1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed and dried
3 T unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T white wine (Amy N-B suggests Muscadet)
1/2lb Bucheron (at room temperate), cut into 4 wedges
Crusty peasant-style bread (warmed in the oven)

1. Scrub and peel the beets. Remove the greens, wash and dry them, and chop coarsely. Set the greens aside in a large prep bowl. Slice the beets into 1/4-inch rounds.

2. Remove the ribs from the Swiss chard and coarsely chop the ribs. Toss the leaves and ribs into the bowl with the beet greens.

3. In a large saute pan, melt the butter and saute the shallot over medium heat until softened.

4. Add the beet rounds to the shallot-butter mixture. Toss in a pinch of salt and crack some pepper over the beets. Reduce the heat and saute the beets, turning to ensure even cooking, until the beets are beginning to glaze and become tender, about 15 minutes.

5. Add the beet green, chard, and chard rib and saute for about 5 minutes, then add the wine and cover. Cook until the greens are wilted, adding 2 tablespoons water if necessary. Allow the liquid to be mostly absorbed into the greens. Adjust the seasonings.

6. Scoop the greens and beets into a shallow bowl. Serve with a generous wedge of Bucheron and crusty bread. Crack a little bit of pepper over the entire dish.

* Bucheron can be spelled Boucheron, Bucherondin or Boucherondin - all will do the trick.

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