Saturday, May 22, 2010

Beet and Tomato Ragout with Goat Cheese

Yes, you can find beets all year round in Finland. But I believe they're finally in season, because the prices took a dive and I just had to pick some up. Maybe too many, so this will not be the last beet post to come for a while.
I do realize now why Jamie Oliver went by 'The Naked Chef', because cooking with things like beets requires a little bit of nudity if you don't want to ruin all of your clothing. I'm getting used to cooking in the nude as a way to cut back on laundry, and it's warm enough, and the tree blocks the window to my kitchen, so who's complaining? Just check this picture of my hand after peeling and chopping 3 beets and trying to wash off the juices:
This is good as a main course with a few greens on the side or as a side dish. I ate this for two days straight (TMI, FYI a bit concerned about the color of my stool afterwards), but I know beets aren't everyone's number one favorite, so a side dish is also appropriate for guests.
2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 large beets, cubed into about 1 inch cubes
1 cup tomatoes canned or fresh
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste (about 1-2 tbs is probably more than enough)
a few sliced rounds of good quality goat cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in a sautee pan. Add the onion and slowly brown it for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
2. Add the tomato paste, sugar, garlic, and 3/4 cup water to the pan and stir well.
3. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, which takes about 25 minutes.
4. Add the beets and tomatoes with salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar and simmer for another 20 minutes, or until beets are soft.
 5. Serve the ragout topped with slices of goat cheese.

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