Monday, October 20, 2008

Beet and Barley Bake

One of the things I love to do on the weekend is drive to one of my favorite farmer stands. These are the storefronts that generally don't make an appearance at our weekly farmer's market.

I found this gorgeous bunch of beets for $1.59 and brought them home.

We're expecting snow this week, so you can imagine the chilly temperatures around here--a great excuse to use the oven! I wanted to do an easy barley risotto in the oven, and the beets seemed like a perfect accompaniment. Here's what I did:

Beet & Barley Bake
serves 4

1 bunch beets (about 5 large) with greens and stalks
olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 pound barley, sorted and rinsed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground red (cayenne) pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup hot water

Separate greens and stalks from beet bulbs; set aside beet bulbs and rinse greens and stalks thoroughly. Chop greens and stalks well. Pat dry with paper towels.

In a saucepan, saute onion in olive oil until transparent; add chopped beet greens and stalks and saute until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Peel beet bulbs and chop as desired; smaller beets can be quartered, and larger ones may be sliced.

Lightly grease (I used olive oil) a large oven-safe casserole dish and add barley. Top with chopped beets, then sauteed beet greens. Sprinkle with oregano, thyme, ground red pepper and parmesan cheese. Pour chicken broth and water over and stir to distribute.

Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 45-60 minutes, or until barley is puffed and tender.

It became a lovely pink casserole of chewy barley, sweet, tender roasted beets and greens. The cayenne pepper added a lightly spicy note that builds nicely for a slow heat.

The beet flavor is definitely a strong presence--one that Mr.W didn't entirely care for.

What a surprise, right? He's too picky. Don't take Mr.W's opinion--it's good!

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