Beets brighten winter meals

Beets are a brilliantly colored red root vegetable that take on an even richer crimson color when cooked. They’re packed with important nutrients, and I find them delicious cooked in a variety of ways.
They can be made into soup (Borscht), salad, the sweet and sour favorite Harvard Beets or sautéed as a side dish with greens.
Most people guilty of saying “I don’t like beets,” have probably never eaten them.
If so, branch out a little and try one of these recipes.

Marinated Beet Salad
1 (16 ounce) can whole beets
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup diced red onion

Drain beets, reserving 1/4 cup liquid, and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slivers. Add onions and toss.
In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, mustard and reserved 1/4 cup liquid until dissolved. Add vinegar and bring to boil; remove from heat and allow to cool.
Pour over the beet slices and onions, toss and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. Remove from refrigerator and serve at room temperature.

Easy Harvard Beets
3/4 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 (15 ounce) cans sliced beets, drained
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minute. Add the beets to the liquid, and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.
Stir in butter, salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Serve warm or chilled.

Borscht (Beet Soup)
1 bunch red beets, about 1 pound, tops trimmed, and scrubbed
1 small red onion, peeled and cut into eighths (about 4 ounces)
2 medium carrots, halved crosswise (about 5 ounces)
1 rib celery, halved crosswise
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 sprig rosemary
3 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup light buttermilk
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce (less than 1/4 tsp.)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Put the vegetables and garlic on a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (or a doubled piece of regular), drizzle with olive oil, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt add the rosemary. Seal the foil to make a tight package. Put the package in a roasting pan. Roast until the beets can be pierced easily with a knife, about 1 to 1/2 hours. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them — the skins should slide right off with a bit of pressure from your fingers. If they don’t, use a paring knife to scrape off any bits that stick.
Put 1/2 of the vegetables in a food processor with 1/2 of the broth and puree. Transfer the puree to a saucepan. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and season with pepper, and simmer over medium heat until the flavors come together, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk and Worcestershire.
Ladle Borscht into bowls and garnish with dill.

Sautéed Beets
4-6 medium beets, with greens if possible
1 bunch Swiss chard (6-8 leaves)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
1 shallot
2 tablespoon white wine

Scrub beets well. Remove greens. Peel and slice beets into rounds 1/4-inch thick.
Remove the ribs from the chard. Chop chard and beet greens.
Peel and slice shallot. Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add thyme and stir until fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Add shallot. Stir until softened. Add beets and reduce heat. Sauté about 15 minutes, turning occasionally.
When beets are starting to become tender, add beet greens and chard. Sauté about 5 minutes; add wine and cover. Let greens wilt, adding a tablespoon or two of water if they start looking dry.
Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed. Season with coarse salt and black pepper. Serve in shallow dishes with a wedge of room-temperature Boucherondin cheese and a piece of crusty bread.
The Boucherondin cheese should be located with goat cheeses. If you can’t find it, substitute Brie.