I’m a huge fan of beets – especially when roasted for salads or cooked with rice – but until few years ago I never ate the stalks and leaves – I actually thought they were meant to be tossed out. How would those long, unwieldy stalks fit into a refrigerator and what would one do with those sandy, sometimes wilted greens? I changed my mind after I saw a recipe in Jewish Living Magazine in the fall of 2008 for an Indian spiced warm beet soup and was instructed to saute the beet greens with garlic for a bonus dish. After making both dishes I quickly learned that a) I far prefer hot beet soup to borscht and b) you need to wash beet greens very well to get all the sand and dirt off. Now I don’t have to feel badly about throwing out good produce.
Last week I wanted to take the beet stalks beyond the saute pan and decided to try roasting them with chicken. I “butchered” the bunch of beets purchased at the farmers market by chopping the beets off the stalk for later use, thoroughly rinsing and chopping the stems and leaves. I placed the latter into a roasting pan with petite fingerling potatoes and tossed them with Dijon mustard, olive oil, whole cloves of garlic and rice wine vinegar. This created a lovely bright white, green and purple dish.
Then I placed a whole chicken on that bed of vegetables and brushed it with a mix of Asian oils and sauces – sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and some more rice wine vinegar. After roasting in a hot oven for 40 minutes, during which time I retreated to my air conditioned living room, we enjoyed a crispy bird and flavorful summer root vegetables. The pink markings that the beet stalks left on the chicken and potatoes reminded me of the brightly colored beets they had been attached to.
1 lb fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
1 bunch of beet greens, thoroughly washed
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, divided
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tsp freshly ground ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 whole 3-4 lb Grown and Behold roasting chicken
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Slice each fingerling potato in half and place in a large, deep baking dish. Chop the beet greens and toss them with the potatoes. Scatter the four peeled garlic cloves around the dish. Spoon the mustard, olive oil and 1tbsp of rice wine vinegar over the vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the whole chicken on top of the vegetables.
In a small bowl add 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar and the rest of the ingredients. Whisk them together and brush over the chicken. Roast for 50 minutes in the oven and check to see that a thermometer inserted int the leg of the chicken reads 158 degrees. Let rest for 3 minutes before carving and serving.