Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beet Dip

Australians seem to love their beets (just an observation).
They'll even put beets on their hamburgers (and that goes for McDonald's, too).

I have no idea why, but they do, and beets will always be something I associate with Australia.
Funny, since beets don't seem to be the natural thing that comes to mind when you think of the place. I mean, Eastern Europe/borscht/beets, YES... the stereotypical association makes much more sense.
Australia/kangaroos/beach culture/beets?

Not that beets are bad.
No way am I saying that.

As I've said before, I used to hate them (I ate them only when I had to at the dinner table, and only while holding my breath as well as my nose so as not to taste their dirt-like flavor, and after swallowing making sure to wash them down quickly with milk or water... no joke, beets were a very dramatic vegetable for me).

Beets and I are on better terms these days.
Mostly roasted is how we go, frequently in a salad, sometimes all on their lonesome in more of a vegetable main attraction role.

It's a little different, but another preparation for beets is in a dip, and a version of beetroot dip is something you can find at the grocery store in Australia right alongside the hummus.
A lovely shade of creamy magenta that couldn't be anything but beets, it tastes great, and it's a way to get a bit more iron into your day.
And it's something that my aunt Jane seemed to always have on hand as a snack for late in the day while dinner was being prepared.
I'm happy to have been introduced to it.
And I'm partial to rice crackers as the vehicle for consumption- it's how we (dip and I) were introduced.

Leftover roasted beets? This may put them to good use and makes the recipe even easier.
You know, it tastes better than dirt, too. Now if that's not a ringing recommendation, I don't know what is.

Ideas for garnishes and accompaniments:
sliced green onion
minced parsley
sesame seeds
chèvre or feta
za'atar (mine is blend from Penzey's- sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, salt)
extra sour cream or Greek yogurt
olive oil or walnut oil
toasted almonds or walnuts

Beet Dip
adapted from a Bill Granger recipe
makes about 3 c/ 720 ml

1 lb. (450 g) beets
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/4 c (285 g) sour cream or Greek yogurt
1-2 lemons
1 t (3 g) cumin
1 t (2 g) coriander
1/2 t (3 g) hot chili sauce- such as sriracha
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.
Top and tail the beets and rinse of any dirt.
Massage the outside of the beets with olive oil, and tightly wrap each individually in aluminum foil. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet. 
Roast the beets 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until tender enough to slip the tip of a sharp knife very easily into the beets.
Remove the pan from the oven and carefully open the foil packets to vent a bit. Let the beets rest until cool enough to handle. 

Pour any extra olive oil from the foil packets into a small bowl and reserve. Peel the beets (the skins should easily slip off the beets if you use your fingers or a blunt knife), and roughly cut them into wedges. 
Place the beets, minced garlic, and sour cream or yogurt into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. 
Add 1 T/15 ml olive oil (the reserved olive oil plus any extra to make up the difference), the grated zest of 1 lemon, 2 1/2 T (40 ml) lemon juice, cumin, coriander, and chili sauce. Process the mixture a minutes or two until everything is well-combined.
Season to taste with salt and pepper (I start with 1 t/7g and 1/4 t/1 g, respectively). Pulse several times until everything is incorporated and adjust as desired with lemon juice, and/or chili sauce.
Serve with crackers or sliced pita.
Refrigerate any extra in a covered container.

Extra dip might be nice on a sandwich.
I don't know, but I'm wondering if it might not be a good condiment with fish...


  1. To thicken it up a bit, prior to making the dip you can place the sour cream or yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer placed over a bowl.
    Leave the strainer and bowl it in the refrigerator several hours or overnight so it drains of any extra whey.

    Use this thicker version in place of the sour cream or yogurt you would spoon right out of the carton.

  2. As good as this was the first day ---I think it may be even a "tad" better the second day!
    Could this be possible, Vindepeche"?