Part deux of my quest to use up my beets:
Election day 2008 was one of the great days in recent memory. I am a big fan of our new president for many reason, including but not limited to the fact that on the following day no fewer than 15 people of varying British and European origins in my office came by to congratulate me, as though I personally had something to do with it (in a larger-than-my-absentee-ballot way). I could go on about his attributes, but instead I will turn to something I consider to be a major drawback in him: Barack Obama does not like beets.
I can sort of understand people who don't like beets. Many of them are victims of canned or pickled beet induced childhood trauma. Those would certainly be enough to spoil my beet appetite for life. I personally think they should be banished to fall-out shelters and labelled "Eat last". But beets in general -- fresh, newly picked, boiled or roasted or shredded raw, these garnet gems of the vegetable crown -- clearly they make me wax poetic, but they also make me want to eat them. And with the new White House garden which could supply fresh beets, I think there is really no excuse. For shame, Mr. President
So my point, and I do have one, is that despite my taste for the roots, I have more beets than I know what to do with. Last recipe was a fresh and flavorful salad. This week, something a bit heartier. One of the pleasures (and dangers) of beets is that they turn everything bright pink. Well, who doesn't like bright pink food? Risotto is a great vehicle for beets because not only does it blush beautifully in their juices, but it also complements their inherent creaminess. I like some sharp counterpoints, so goat's cheese and arugula (which, I have on good authority, the Prez does like) are the ways forward there. A good grinding of black pepper finishes the dish. Hail to the beets.
Beet and goat's cheese risotto
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup arborio rice
2+ C. vegetable stock
2 medium or 1 large cooked beet, peeled and chopped
2 T. soft goat's cheese
handful of arugula
Saute onion until soft. Add garlic and cook gently for a few minutes, then add rice and cook, stirring, for another few minutes. Start to add warm stock, 1/2 C. at a time, waiting between each addition for the rice to absorb the liquid as it cooks. Stir frequently (or just enough).
When rice is nearly cooked, stir through the beets so they warm through. Then mix in the arugula so that it just wilts. Dot the cheese over the top.