Counting down the days to Christmas with Spicy Jan – Recipe 9
Oh Instant Pot Oh Instant Pot … same traditional song, new catchy jingle! Sing it in a rapping beat as you try a new twist on a vegetable often forgotten.
I’ll never forget the day when I was tasked to coordinate a private dinner for three. A Canadian high-profile guest was going to be present at an event and a quiet intimate dinner was to be coordinated in a private location. Breathe, you got this! All the details were handled, an award winning local chef was hired to execute the menu. The evening arrived and everything was set and the party of three arrived. I was watching Chef at distance and saw how he constructed food to become a creation of gourmet. I realized that beets were part of the salad for this particular dinner and not greens. I remember thinking, “oh dear, I hope she likes beets.”
The plating was magnificent. A small amount of blue cheese, walnuts, and beets were tossed in a fragrant dressing then placed on a gorgeous local board and served. I found my mind wandering about beets in this particular moment. What I would do with beets, how best to cook them and do you really need to have red all over your hands when wanting to include beets in your cooking? It was this high-level moment that wasn’t about me at all, that I found myself curiously thinking about beets.
I have a new appreciation for beets, cooking and eating beets and how incredibly good they are for you
‘Beets are dense with nutrients, including potassium, betaine, magnesium, folate, and Vitamin C and a good dose of nitrates. Beets can also help reduce blood pressure and anemia, improve circulation and cognitive function. … A basketball team, for example, using beet juice as a pre-workout supplement.’
As you likely have assumed, I have found my Instant Pot to be my best friend when thinking about cooking beets. At this festive time of year, beets are sold in beautiful trio bundle and so plentiful. Here is my go to for preparing beets any time of the year.
Scrub and wash the beets well, and chop off the top beet greens right at the connection to the vegetable. Prepare your IP with one cup of water and place the rack inside the pot. Place two or three washed beets onto the rack. As always, be sure to secure the lid with ensuring the valve is turned to the ‘seal’ position so pressure cooking can take place. On the digital display use Manual HP (high pressure) pressing the + key to 12 minutes and walk away. You are now cooking beets with efficient energy, no mess and this will be way easier than you imagined.
For me, while the beets are cooking I will mix a marinade of aged Balsamic Vinegar (I loved The Olive Oil Company’s Traditional Aged Balsamic), Basil Olive Oil from my friends at TOOC, and a balanced mixture of honey and a grainy Dijon Mustard. I love a little hit of Sweet Basil Seasoning to this mixture (Pampered Chef). I prepare this and set aside.
For me, I do like to prepare beets ahead of when I will be using them. This offers the beet time to cool naturally which allows the skin to slip off the vegetable in a pinch, literally!
The beautiful thing about cooking in the IP is that you can cook the beets, then leave in the pot for a NR (natural release) and when you get back to the beets, the pressure if off you can open the lid safely and the beets will be cooked to perfection. You can remove the beet skin from the vegetable with a simple pinch or using a fork and knife to scrape off with ease.
At this point you can chop the beets into bite-size pieces and place in a container with a lid, adding in your balsamic marinade. This way the beets are gaining flavour while waiting for you to use them. This is a simple side, you can toss with Blue Cheese, or Goat’s Cheese and Walnuts for a gorgeous simple salad that will wow everyone around the table with a beautiful co-mingling of flavours.
Let’s rewind to that distinguished guest and that intimate dinner for three. At the end of the evening, the guests exited the dining area for her next part of her itinerary, she eyed the chef and walked over to him. She said, “that was the most delicious salad I have had in years. I love that you served beets, I love beets and not many people serve them anymore.” Phew, the beets were a hit!
You may remember beets from years gone by, yet try this simple way to prepare, toss and serve and let your taste buds guide your journey of healthy ideas, in a snap. Try it, you might like it.
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