A study was released recently by the American Heart Association journal Hypertension showing that drinking 8 ounces of beetroot juice will lower your blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic. The juice used in the study contained about 0.2 grams of dietary nitrate, which you could also get by eating a large bowl of lettuce, or about two beets. The affects of the reduced blood pressure last for hours, even after the nitrate levels have returned to the same levels they were before drinking the beet juice. Now, I don't know about you, but I have never actually drunk a glass of beet juice, although I do love beets. I also happen to have high blood pressure, so it looks like beets will become a larger part of my diet than they already are.
 
I am often lazy about cooking beets and just roast them, but there are lots of different ways to eat them. You can have them in salads, in soups, or my particular favorite, pickled beets. When I was a kid, my mother used to boil beets, peel them, cool them and then pour a bit of white vinegar over them for her own version of quick pickled beets, and I loved them. This recipe calls for sauteeing them in a pan on the stovetop, which I have never done before. Beets can take quite a long time to cook, and this made the process much faster.
 
The recipe calls for a side of Bucheron cheese, which is a goat's milk cheese, but since my son is a cheesemonger, I sent my daughter off to the cheese store to see what they recommended. She came home with a cloth bound cheddar cheese that had a wonderful earthy flavor that went perfectly with the beets. There was no Swiss chard to be had in my grocery, so I substituted spinach, which worked just fine. We had some leftovers and,  just like my mother,  the next day I sprinkled a little vinegar over them and they were delicious.
 
This recipe is from Epicurious.

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Total time: 30-40 minutes 

Yield: 4 as a side dish, 2 as an entree

French "Peasant" Beets

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 beets with greens
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Dash salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white wine (Muscadet is my preference, but any light, non-sweet white wine will do)
  • 1/2 pound Bucheron (at room temperature), cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 crusty peasant-style bread (warmed in the oven)
Cooking directions
  1. Scrub and peel the beets. Remove the greens, wash and dry them, and chop coarsely. Set the greens aside in a large prep bowl. Slice the beets into 1/4-inch rounds. Remove the ribs from the Swiss chard and coarsely chop the ribs. Toss the leaves and ribs into the bowl with the beet greens.
  2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the shallot over medium heat until softened.
  3. Add the beet rounds to the shallot-butter mixture. Toss in a pinch of salt and crack some pepper over the beets. Reduce the heat and sauté the beets, turning to ensure even cooking, until the beets are beginning to glaze and become tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the beet greens, chard, and chard ribs and sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the wine and cover. Cook until the greens are wilted, adding 2 tablespoons water if necessary. Allow the liquid to be mostly absorbed into the greens. Adjust the seasonings.
  5. Scoop the greens and beets into a shallow bowl. Serve with a generous wedge of Bucheron and some crusty bread. Crack a little bit of pepper over the entire dish.

More ideas about beets on MNN: