We’re deep in winter, and that means not only root vegetables but luscious Meyer lemons as well!
Do you like beets? Many people love them, but I have to admit that I’m not a fan of the big fat red beets, perhaps because I had so many as a child. I want to love them, they are so beautiful and healthful. But, when I was a kid, I thought beets were rude because they would bleed into my mashed potatoes and I didn’t like anything doing that. I would use just about anything on my plate to create a barrier, and the only problem with that was yet another food was stained and flavored with beet.
Making peace with beets
I still don’t love them, but I’ll eat them if served to me, and I’ll cook them for my husband who really likes them. I do like the golden or Chioggia beets, so that’s progress. The golden and Chioggia, also known as candy stripe, are much milder in flavor, a little sweeter, and they keep to themselves! I’ll gladly cook and eat them any day.
So good for you
All beets are really nutritious, filled with vitamins and minerals and anti-oxidants. That’s a good reason to cook them, but they are also really tasty and pretty to look at, especially this time of year.
I found some magnificent Meyer lemons this week and thought I’d pair them with the golden beets and some wonderful and colorful winter radishes. I used purple Daikon here as well as watermelon radishes. You could also add the slightly spicier black Spanish radishes as well, or even radishes from the grocery store in a pinch. They are all delicious.
A sweet and aromatic lemon
Meyer lemons have a fabulous aroma, kind of woodsy, and are a cross between a citron and a Mandarin orange. They are rounder, fatter, and sweeter than a conventional lemon, and are a welcome burst of sunshine. At this time of year, they are at the peak of the season and can become the star of many a sweet or savory meal. In this case, a side dish!
I’ve added a bit of orange to this to round out the citrus flavor, but you could use all lemons if you like; you could even use all orange! No tarragon? Use parsley, chives, or rosemary.
Braised Golden Beets with Winter Radishes and Meyer Lemons
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, sliced very thin
- 1 fat clove garlic, chopped
- 3 or 4 beets, cut in quarters or sixths
- 2 large winter radishes (watermelon, Daikon, black Spanish)
- Juice of 1 large Meyer lemon and one tangerine or clementine
- Zest of the citrus
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tsp. native honey, just to round it out
- ½ tsp. turmeric
- 1 tbsp. fresh tarragon
Prep the vegetables. You will want the beets and radishes about the same size. You can peel or not peel the beets depending on whether you usually do or not, and if the skins are really thick or thin. I just took some of the roughest of the skins off.
Heat a large skillet and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic, some salt and pepper, and cook another 30 seconds.
Add the beets and radishes along with the citrus juice, water, honey, turmeric, and a touch more salt.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until the veggies are just tender. This will depend on the size and age of the roots. Mine took just under 10 minutes.
Add the zest and fresh tarragon and mix well, taste for seasoning. Plate and top with some of the thick, luscious braising liquid (or all of it!) and little finely minced tarragon. If you eat dairy, a little fresh goat cheese crumbled on top would be delightful.
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