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Beetroot as the base for stews

Beetroot is in season so I tried cooking with beetroot this week. (Fresh, I mean, not cooked/pickled.) It's tricky cos it can be rock-hard if you cook it as if it was potato or something. Just now I found a nice trick: you can treat it as if it was onion and use it as the basis of a stew. Frying it in olive oil at the start softens it nicely and flavours it nicely too; then if you make a wine/tomato stew on top of it, the slight acidity of the wine/tomato complements it nicely.

This recipe serves 2 and takes about 40 minutes all included. If you want more protein in it, adding beef (browned first) or chick-peas, after the garlic, would work really well with the flavours.

  • 2 or 3 beetroots
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 head cauliflower
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large glass red wine
  • Bread and butter, to serve

Warm a deep pan with the olive oil in. Chop the stalks off the beetroot, then peel them (using a knife is probably easier than a peeler, since beetroots are a bit soft). Chop them into thin slices (2mm thick?), then chop the slices into matchsticks. Put these into the pan and allow the beetroot to fry gently for 5 mins or so. In the meantime, peel and slice the garlic, and wash the cauliflower and cut it into big bitesize pieces.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir around. Also add the cauliflower. Let these fry for a minute or two until the garlic has softened. (If adding beef/chickpeas, do it at this point.) Add the chopped tomatoes and enough hot water to cover the cauliflower bits, and bring it to the boil. Add the wine, stir things up, and continue to boil for a minute or so (to let the alcohol boil off the wine).

Put the lid on and let the stew bubble gently for 25-30 minutes. Serve with bread and butter.

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