Thursday, September 15, 2011

Roasted Beets with Lebneh and Mint

    Last night I was trying to think of a way to use up my beets from the CSA and I kept thinking about the lebneh I had left in the fridge from our Grilled Eggplant with Lebneh.  I really liked the combination of the garlic in the lebneh with the fresh mint.  And I thought that it would work with some roasted beets, but I wasn't sure so I checked Google.  When I Googled I found a variety of recipes including beets and yogurt - most of which wanted you to grate the beets and mix with plain yogurt.  That reminded me a little too much of a coleslaw and the proportions of yogurt to beet sounded off to me, so I decided to just wing it.  I found a Madhur Jaffrey recipe on Epicurious that called for a pinch of cayenne so I appropriated that idea and started cooking.  And man, that cayenne was genius.  But I have to give us credit for coming up with such a genius idea in the first place.  Alex actually said that this was one of his favorite beet recipes ever.  Not that we make beets that often, but I still consider that to be a serious accomplishment.  Once you stir it all together, the tartness and coolness of the lebneh was the perfect contrast to the heat of the cayenne and the sweetness of the beets.  And then there was the brightness of fresh mint and the hint of fresh garlic.  Yum.  It was just really good.  And the bright fuchsia color was just beautiful.  In fact, it was so good (and so pretty) that I even considered stealing the last bite away from Alex and eating it myself.  But I didn't.  I'm a good wife like that.

    Recipe after the jump!

    Roasted Beets with Lebneh and Mint

    3 large beets, trimmed (leaving about 1 inch of stems attached)
    1/2 cup lebneh (Middle Eastern yogurt)
    1 tsp kosher salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne 
    2 1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
    1 tbsp evoo
    1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane (or pasted with salt)
      Preheat oven to to 400 degrees F.  Clean beats and dry.  Drizzle beets with 1 tsp evoo and season lightly with s&p.  Wrap beets tightly in foil.  Roast until tender, about 90 minutes.  Remove beets from oven and allow to cool completely.

      Peel the beet and cut into 1/2-cm cubes.  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle with 1/2 tbsp evoo, and season to taste with s&p, cayenne and mint.  Stir to combine.

      Put the lebneh and 1/2 tbsp evoo in a bowl and stir with a fork until it is smooth and creamy.  Add a pinch kosher salt and grated garlic.  

      Transfer beets to a serving plate or bowl.  Top with yogurt mixture.  Serve.

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