I kept flipping past the recipe again and again. I just didn’t see how it would work. Beets and rice? With the stems and tops? Hubby kept telling me his mother always cooked the beet stems with her beets. OK, I can grasp that. But the greens, too? Just didn’t have that experience in my frame of reference.
But if Celebrating a Healthy Harvest, my recipe source for so many good things, said (by its inclusion) that this recipe for Beet Risotto was good, who am I to argue? I took my little recipe book that I obtained from the Chickasaw Nutrition Services and got out my beets and my cutting board.
The beet stems actually got sauteed along with the chopped onion to make them tender. The beet pieces went in the mix to cook for 5 minutes so they could start softening up. Making sure the rice you add is whole-grain rather than minute rice is important. The greens, which went in after the rice, were cooked thoroughly and were much like adding fresh spinach to a warm dish—very flavorful when wilted. The Parmesan and horseradish added at the end gave the mixture just the right seasoning it needed.
Beets are especially loaded with antioxidants, which help the body fight heart disease and certain cancers, especially colon cancer, so the health benefits of this reddish-purple vegetable make it certainly worth the effort. Of course the whole-grain rice is rich in fiber.
Very excellent dish—I’m glad I tried it. This made oodles, so it will be a side dish for us throughout the weekend, I feel sure.
1 small onion, diced
3 medium-sized beets with greens
3 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon horseradish
Trim beet leaves. Wash thoroughly in cool water. Cut greens and stems into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Peel and dice beets. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat cook onion in butter until onion is softened. Add beets and stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup water and cook at a simmer until water is absorbed. Stir in beet greens. Continue cooking at a strong simmer; add 1/2 cup water at a time, stirring constantly, until all the water is absorbed. Test rice. Rice should be tender and creamy-looking but still al dente. (At this point, for about 5-7 minutes, I covered the skillet with its lid to be sure the rice was cooked thoroughly). When rice is done, remove pan from heat. Stir in Parmesan and horseradish. Makes 4 servings.