This is a recipe that I was meant to post almost two years ago. I’m only a touch late…
Those two years ago, for the blog’s anniversary post, I shared my mom’s beloved Sauerbraten recipe. While at its core, it is a glorified, gussied up pot roast, the spices and seasonings definitely take it to the next level. And every self respecting German will serve this special occasion dish with knödel (large fluffy potato dumplings) or spätzle (homemade noodles) lots of tangy gravy made from the juices of the pot roast, and rotkohl (braised red cabbage).
I love all of the above. Except the red cabbage. It’s not that I despise it. I just don’t jump up and down for it. I should. It’s wonderful red cabbage, shredded and slowly braised with wine, onion, juniper berries, vinegar, and even shredded apple. The final result is a tangy, rich side dish of softened cabbage and spices. Think of it as the cranberry sauce on a festive German dinner plate. But for some reason, the flavour just doesn’t sing to me. Now, Jim loves it. So I make it. And I do eat it. But unlike other side dishes, I don’t excited to prepare it. It may be that it is just a touch too sweet/tangy for my personal liking.
So what is a girl to do, when what is expected, is not what she wants to make? Step in these beets. First of all, they are the same colour. There is a similar sweetness. There is a similar tartness. But there is also an earthiness that isn’t in the red cabbage. And obviously the texture is different. Maybe this is what I like as well.
So what makes these beets so amazing? Let me tell you. Baby beets are peeled and sliced in half. They are covered in a blend of tamari (gf soy sauce), olive oil and some water. But it’s the spices that take this to the next level: star anise, cloves, thyme, and garlic. As you can see, basic sweet beets are being balanced with the salty and umami-rich tamari, and the eastern spices. Once they have finished roasting, the beets are perfectly tender and have taken on a decidedly savoury aspect. I think this is what makes this a dish I would rather have than the cabbage. The beets are just more balanced. I love what the tamari does to the beets.
The fun comes when the remaining juices are strained and returned to a small pot to reduce down. Once reduced to a syrupy goodness, pomegranate molasses is added to the syrup. Now the tamari based syrup is balanced yet again with the superb tang and slight sweetness of the pomegranate. Such a perfect glaze! The beets get gently tossed in this glaze.
To serve them as is is perfectly acceptable. To lay them out on a bed of shredded radicchio and baby gem lettuce and strewn with pomegranate arils and fresh mint takes them from a side dish to centre stage. This is a simple and yet elegant way to prepare and serve beets. And they go great with all sorts of dishes, not just sauerbraten. Below is how I served them this week: with pork chops, roasted potatoes (and spätzle for me!!)
If you can’t find baby beets, no worries, just take regular beets and cube into 1.5 inch pieces.
So what does all of this have to do with that two year old blog post? I had promised to share the beet recipe on it. I have had several specific reminders from you guys out there that it isn’t on the blog yet. I didn’t forget you! Here it is. Only two years late!! 😀
So, if you come over for Sauerbraten, you will find two kinds of carbs: spätzle for me, and mashed potatoes for Jim; and two red veggie dishes: red cabbage for Jim, and beets for me (although Jim will happily eat both!) If you want a third carb, just let me know, and I’ll make the potato dumplings as well!
Tamari and Pomegranate Glazed Baby Beets
A rich umami and slightly tangy glazed is created to coat these roasted baby beets. The perfect autumn and winter side dish. Pomegranate arils jewels are the perfect way to finish this dish off!
- 14-16 baby beets or 3-4 regular to large sized beets, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup tamari or coconut aminos
- 3 cloves of garlic skin on (if large, you can slice them in half)
- 2 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 cup of shredded baby gems lettuce can use romaine heart leaves instead
- 1/2 cup shredded red or pink radicchio
- 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
- 1 tbsp fresh mint chiffonaded, or sliced really thin
Heat the oven to 400F (200C)
Line a baking dish or pan with tinfoil, going up the sides
Peel the baby beets, and slice in half. If they are larger, cut into fourths
Add these into the tinfoil lined dish.
Add the tamari, the garlic cloves, the star anise, cloves, thyme and olive oil.
Pour 1/2 cup of water over everything, and toss to combine well.
Cover the dish with more foil. Seal well.
Roast in the centre of the oven till tender (a knife should slide in without resistance) about 60 minutes.
Remove the beets from the dish and set aside in a bowl. Tent with foil to keep warm.
Strain the remaining liquid and place it into a small stock pot.
Cook on high till reduced to about 3-4 tbsp. It should be turning thicker, but still pourable.
Add the pomegranate molasses and stir to combine.
Pour this glaze over the beets and toss gently to coat.
On a serving plate spread out the shredded lettuces (combo of little gems and radicchio). Place the beets on top of the bed of greens and radicchio. Sprinkle the pomegranate arils and mint over the beets.
You can make the beets ahead of time and store in an airtight container. Store the strained cooking juices separately. Shred your lettuces as well and store.
When getting ready to serve, reduce the sauce while the beets quickly warm in a covered baking dish in the oven. They don't need to be piping hot. The finished glaze will also finish warming them up.
Inspired by a Delicious magazine article.