I just recently posted a recipe for beetroot brownies and I also popped it into the writing forum I’m part of which provoked a few comments that I wasn’t expecting. I was just trying to get something out there.
The questions were generous in nature, but made me realise I’d taken something for granted in that I thought everyone knew what a beet root was. For me they were part of my childhood and I hated them. They came out of a jar and sat on the buffet table at Christmas, all vinegary and sour. They were sliced and prized out with a fork. Extra special when they came out the jar crinkle cut, providing variety on the plate and a change in conversation along with the colour of the napkin.
They never seemed to feature in my Grandads vegetable garden so I never knew until late in life that we could buy these in bunches, typically 5 or 6 at a time, usually the same size for equal cooking time. They sometimes appear in the veg box, caked in mud, but different varieties my favourite being the golden. Once cooked and sliced in a particular way you get an amazing effect visually.
It’s only now through learning to cook that I realise this an awesome sweet root vegetable that provides many nutritional benefits. The tops providing the leaves for many of our pre packed salad bags and the strips of purple that you often find added. Then the root, a ball of purple, similar to a turnip, grown like carrots. Hardy in nature which is good for the Scottish weather.
This week there are two beetroot in the veg box, huge bigger than tennis balls and by some mistake we’ve doubled up on the weekly shop. My mind immediately leaping to beetroot and chocolate as a way to cash in on the bonanza. Beetroot adds a dense moist texture with a sweetness that means we can use a little less sugar. This is great as a pudding served with a compote some ice cream or a spoon or two of Greek yoghurt.
Since buying a pressure cooking preparing beetroot has been a doddle. We typically put it on the potato setting and add a little extra water. If they are little bigger, they just need a little extra time, a nudge on the pressure dial and a couple of extra minutes.
20×30 shallow baking tin, greased and lined with baking parchment
Oven at 180°c, 350°f or Gas Mark 4
Beetroot: 300g (cooked from fresh, to the point of being soft, peeled and finely grated)
Butter unsalted: 250g roughly cubed for melting
Dark chocolate: 300g broken into pieces
Caster Sugar: 250g
Wholemeal self-raising flour: 200g
Salt: a pinch of fine sea salt
Melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. As soon as it starts to soften, reduce the heat and add the butter. Stir until it has melted.
Meanwhile beat the eggs and sugar together within an inch of their lives, a good five to ten mins depending on the speed of the beater. Looking for pale light and fluffy, doubled in volume.
With the beater on slow, add the melted chocolate mix into the eggs, just looking to combine the two. Sift the flour and salt together over the chocolate. Adding the wheat grains back in. Gently fold this in and when it’s nearly combined fold in the grated beetroot as well. Don’t overwork this as we are trying to keep the air in the mixture.
Scoop the mixture into the lined tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, remember this will carry on cooking when you take out the oven and we want them to stay moist.
Leave to cool in its tin on a wire rack, before cutting into squares.