The best ways with beetroot

‘One of the best things about growing your own beetroot, or being able to pick your own, is that you get the delicious leaves that supermarkets so often discard. Serve them either in a salad, as I’ve done below, or blanch them and serve with sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Earthy deliciousness!’

Roast fillet of beef with balsamic-roasted beetroot

Serves 6

1kg piece of fillet beef
30ml olive oil
2tbspn peppercorns
800g beetroots, peeled
400g red onions
6 cloves garlic
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
50ml balsamic vinegar
15g molasses sugar
260g fresh baby spinach
150g garden peas
100g beetroot leaves
1 lemon, juice of
1tsp French mustard
50ml olive oil
200ml red wine
1tbspn balsamic vinegar
1tspn wholegrain mustard
Seasoning

Method

Rub olive oil all over the fillet of beef. Crush the peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and then sieve them to remove the centres. Press the peppercorn shells into the surface of the meat and refrigerate it, covered, until you’re ready to cook it.

Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6. Peel the beetroots and keep them whole if small or cut into wedges if larger. Peel the onions and cut them through the root into eight wedges. Toss the beetroots and onions generously in olive oil so they’re well coated and add them to a large roasting tin that will also fit the beef fillet.

Scatter the thyme and rosemary sprigs over it all. Whisk together the sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved and then pour it over the vegetables. Cook in the oven for half an hour.

Take the fillet of beef out of the refrigerator just after you put the vegetables in and leave it to reach room temperature. Once the vegetables have had half an hour in the oven, remove the tin and push the vegetables to the edges so the beef will fit in the centre. Return to the oven for 30 minutes for beef that’s medium or five minutes more or less for well done or rare. Remove from the oven once cooked, cover the beef with foil to rest and place the vegetables in a warmed bowl.

Deglaze the pan by placing it on a hob and adding a splash of red wine, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard.

Blanch the peas and then toss them with the fresh baby spinach and beetroot leaves. Pour the whisked dressing ingredients over the salad.

Serve the beef in thick slices drizzled with the glaze and with the balsamic-roasted beetroot and the spinach salad on the side.

More ways with beetroot

Beetroot carpaccio with goat’s cheese

Take 3 large peeled, cooked beetroots and cut into very thin slices a mandoline makes light work of this. Arrange the slices decor-atively in a single layer over a large serving plate. Scatter with crumbled goat’s cheese, chopped chives and fresh mint and then pour a classic vinaigrette dressing over them.

Superfood beetroot and lentil salad

Cut two large cooked beetroots into cubes and put them in a large bowl. Add two chopped spring onions, a handful of chopped coriander, a tablespoon of grated ginger, two cloves of crushed garlic, an avocado cut into cubes, a handful each of rocket leaves and pea shoots and the juice of 2 limes. Add 250g cooked puy lentils and pour a little classic vinaigrette over them, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Goes well with all barbecue meats.

This article was first published in Country Life on August 6 2014