Over the winter I was heavily inspired by the work Chef Roy Elam was doing with beets. On Instagram he was posting “Beets 3 Ways” with things like smoked beets, pickled beets, roasted beets…the list goes on. He made beets look so attractive that I started wondering why I had forsaken them. I’d tried them roasted, grilled, raw…but nothing was good. All I tasted was dirt.
The more I looked at beets the more I thought about slicing them thinly would render them in a perfectly circular shape…like pepperoni or sausage. I may also be a little obsessed with trying to make vegan sausage as many ways as possible and the idea of doing it with a whole vegetable greatly appeals to me. I decided to give beet pepperoni a shot and I was blown away. The dirt taste was gone, it absorbed all the flavors of the marinade. The texture was perfect, not too hard, not mushy. I couldn’t have asked for a better result so I wanted to share the method and preparations for beet pepperoni. In this picture I used golden beets but I’ve since done it with regular ‘ol red beets and it’s still delicious, the golden ones give a better visual probably. Enjoy on a pizza, on a cracker, on a bagel, in a wrap, on a sandwich, whatever you’re feeling. They’re pretty tasty cold but best served warm.
The Method: Braising
You can read this online, just the same I did but if you don’t feel like digging around here’s what it is: lightly frying something at a high temperauter then slowly cooking it, covered, in a sauce, marinade, broth, etc. That’s what we’ll be doing with these beets. It’s an application you can apply to a million different foods so please do explore it further!
If you want to take this a bit further try salting the beet slices first and letting them sit around for a few hours then pat them dry. They’ll absorb way more of the flavor and have a bit of a different texture.
- 3 beets (medium sized, golden, red, whatever)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp cayenne (flakes are great!)
- 2 stars of anise
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 shallot
- 2 cups water
- Combine everything except the beets in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- Wash the beets and slice them thinly using a mandoline or your serious knife skills.
- Put the beats in a container that can handle the hot marinade.
- Pour the marinade over the beets and let sit for at least 2 hours or overnight in your covered dish.
- Remove the beets from the marinade and sauté them in some oil, your choice but I suggest grapeseed.
- Don't cook them too long in the oil, we just want to get a bit of a browning.
- Add the marinade, bring to a boil, reduce to a medium-low heat, cover and let simmer for about an hour or so until most of the liquid is gone.
- Store in the fridge or freeze for later use. Pan fry them when ready to eat again or just put them atop a pizza before baking.