As I have said before, I am not really a beet person. I want to love beets. They are such a beautiful vegetable, particularly the chioggas I have in my garden, but I just can’t fully embrace them. They are fine. I will eat beets on a salad, sauteed with garlic and butter, and in many other forms, but if they were not growing so prolifically in my garden, I would rarely choose to cook them.
Or, I suppose, all of that was true before this recipe. The sweet and earthy flavor of beets begs for complementary acidity. Toss in a little more sugar to bring out the natural sweetness, and you have something really special. A little lemon zest and salt at the end rounds out a really spectacular dish.
I tried out this recipe for the first time at a dinner party I was doing all the cooking for. I had a huge surplus of a few vegetables from my garden, so I put together a menu to use up my excess chard, tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, and beets. It was a purely vegetarian menu, which always feels a bit risky to me with a new and carnivorous audience, but everything went over beautifully. This dish, the balsamic glazed beets, were particularly relished. There was, in fact, an actual tear shed over a first bite of these beets. That is certainly the highest praise my cooking has ever received. You should probably try them.
Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Beets
~2 lbs. Beets (I prefer chiogga,but any will do)
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt + Pepper
Peel the beets, chop them roughly (around 1” cubes are good), and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast at 450 degrees for 1.5-2 hours, until browning around the edges. Remove from oven to cool a bit. The beets can be cooked in advance if necessary. Just be sure to reheat them before putting the glaze on or it will immediately solidify. Not to mention you probably want to eat them warm.
To make the glaze, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar to a saucepan and reduce to a syrupy consistency. Once you reach the desired consistency, drop the beets into the pan and toss to cover with glaze.
Remove the beets to a serving dish and sprinkle with lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.