I have been wanting to try this recipe for a long time. When I received both beets and fennel in my CSA share last week, I couldn't wait to get home and try it. Problem is, my partner, David, is not a fan of beets or fennel - but surprise surprise - he loved it.
I'll be honest - I have also never been a huge fan of beets. But I think that was largely because I never really new how to cook them. Roasting seems to be the best, and I have grown to really like them now. It has taken David a bit longer, but it is nice to see him coming around.
I have never cooked fennel bulbs - and I burned them a bit, but the flavor was still there. I think I really wasn't sure how to chop them, and this will definitely need some more experimentation on my part, but fennel and beets really go great together. The flavors are very complimentary. The spice of the fennel and the sweetness of the beets meld into something much more appealing than any beets I've made before.
This is best as a side dish and could be served warm or cold in my opinion. It comes from my vegan bible, the Vegan Table by Coleen Patrick-Goudreau (vegan or not, go buy this book - my non-vegan friends have, and so should you). The only things I changed were using baby beets rather than large beets and small fennel bulbs rather than the larger ones I have seen at the grocery store.
Try it out and let me know what you think. Any advice on how to cut fennel? It would be greatly appreciated.
Check it out after the jump.
- 1 bunch baby beets, scrubbed and greens removed, but not peeled
- 1/4 Olive Oil, divided
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 5 small fennel bulbs, stalks removed
- 2 tbls balsamic vinegar, divided
- 1 tbls fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar or spice grinder
- 1 tbls thinly sliced chives
Preheat oven to 425. Remove the greens but keep the beets whole and unpeeled.
Line a large piece of aluminum foil with parchment paper. Place beets in center of parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tbls olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Fold aluminum foil up to enclose beets.
Cut fennel into slices or quarters, and rub just enough olive oil on the fennel to coat. Sprinkle 1 tbls balsamic vinegar. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Place the wrapped beets & the baking sheet with fennel in the center rack of the oven roast the fennel for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing at least once, until the fennel is cooked through and begins to caramelize. Roast the beets until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (I put the beets in first, which seemed to make more sense, and they took about an hour because I used baby beets).
When the beets are done, remove them from the oven, and let them cool before rubbing off their skins, which will slip off very easily (So much easier than using a vegetable peeler! I used a paper towel to remove the skin to prevent purple finger tips). Cut beets into wedges.
In a small bowl , whisk together remaining 3 tbls olive oil, remaining 1 tbls balsamic vinegar, crushed fennel seeds, and chives, and season with salt and pepper.
Combine fennel, beets, and fennel oil in a large bowl, toss to combine and coat, and serve.
Yields 8 servings