Christmas stockings. Usually filled with frivolous trinkets and chocolate. Not in the G&G household, oh no. It must have purpose to make it into a G&G stocking and, no, silly giddiness doesn’t count as a purpose. Humbug. For example, last Christmas I was given a selection of beetroot seeds in my stocking – Boltardy (classic red), Chioggia (pink and white stripes like seaside rock), Golden Detroit (yellow) and Blankoma (white).
Now that’s a stocking filler!
I duly sowed the seeds directly into the patch from May onwards, staggering my sowings to ensure I’d have a long harvest. And, low and behold, they have been incredible. I mean, I know I can harp on about the wonders of beetroot (see links to past beetroot rants below), but these were genuinely knock out. Very reliable, delightfully sweet and beautifully coloured – easy to grow and a joy to pick.
They are however, still coming thick and fast. And they need to be lifted or eaten before they reach melon size or they’ll be woody. So, it’s back to the beetroot glut recipes – some new, some from the archive.
Cumin Beetroot Salad
- 5 small beetroot, multicoloured if possible
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 4 juicy dates
- small handful walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- A few mint leaves
- A scattering of pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Peel the beetroot and chop into bite-sized cubes. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chunks and add the cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Toss well so everything is coated then wrap in tin foil. The foil parcel needs to be secure at the seams but doesn’t want to be too tightly wrapped around the beetroot – leave them some space so they can steam. Cook until a knife pierces the chunks without resistance – about 45 minutes.
Remove the beetroot and allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, if your dates are a bit dry and, like mine, have been sat on the shelf in the larder for goodness knows how long, soak them in a little boiling water to revive them. Then roughly chop them and toss them in with the beetroot. Pop the walnuts in too.
At this point you can add pretty much anything else you fancy – cooked and cooled bulgar wheat would be terrific. Quinoa too, but I find it a bit sanctimonious don’t you? A little spiced and grilled chicken, perhaps. Just avoid mixing flavours too much. This version has a middle-eastern theme so sultanas, cracked wheat, pomegranate molasses, spices etc work well. If you prefer a more Mediterranean route, leave out the cumin, dates and walnuts and go for capers and pine nuts instead. But we digress…
Stir through enough yogurt to nicely coat the salad, you don’t want it to be swimming. Check the seasoning, tear in the mint, scatter over the pumpkin seeds and serve.
Other Tasty Things We’ve Done With Previous Gluts
Eat Beets Day: Beetroot juiced, crisped and pickled
So hurrah for the considered stocking filler present and here’s hoping for more in this year’s sack. (Incidentally, should you be a particularly luxurious buying of stocking fillers, you might like to consider a G&G private cookery class voucher….)