Ultimate baked beetroot and greens
» SERVES 4-6
500g beetroot, about 6 small– medium
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp good balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g beetroot greens (total bunch weight about 800g) or chard or spinach
300ml coconut milk
60g shelled pistachio nuts, pounded or chopped with a large pinch of sea salt
Substitute flaked almonds or hazelnuts if pistachios are not available.
Serve with cooked grains or crusty bread and a watercress and avocado salad.
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush a casserole dish generously with oil. Bring the dish near your chopping board.
2 Scrub the beetroots and drain. (Now you may wish to put on some gloves to stop your hands getting stained.) Do not peel, but cut off the spindly root and any scraggles. Pare the rough bits at the top. Slice quite thinly and toss into the dish as you go.
3 Add the oil and balsamic to the beetroot slices along with salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat evenly and spread out to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with foil, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, prepare the greens. They tend to harbour a lot of dirt. Rinse both leaves and stems first under cold running water and drain the sink thoroughly. Discard any limp or yellowing leaves. Fill the sink to submerge the greens and jostle them about. Leave them while the remaining grit settles. After about 5–10 minutes, lift them out into a colander.
5 Grab a lidded pan that will accommodate the greens. Chop the leaves and stems roughly and place in the pan as you go. Place the pan over a medium heat with just a pinch of salt (no need to add water unless they have dried off completely). Stir, then cover and cook for about 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leaves have collapsed. Drain and set aside.
6 When 30 minutes is up on the roots, remove the dish from the oven and distribute the cooked greens over the top. Pour over the coconut milk. Return to the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the roots and greens should be gently bubbling in a thick magenta emulsion.
7 Scatter the crushed pistachios over the top. Return to the oven for 5–7 minutes, until the nuts are light golden. Serve right away, or at room temperature.
Tinned coconut milk may solidify if cool. If you open a tin and and lumps and watery juice, empty into a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 30 seconds – 1 minute, then whisk until smooth.