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16
Apr

beetroot 5 copy 2

I love beetroot. I can’t remember which author it was who taught me to bake instead of boil it. It was many years ago and I don’t think I ever boiled beetroot since. The great thing about baking beetroot is that you avoid any wateriness which makes a difference when you are using them to make a dip like the one below which I learned a few years ago in Aleppo, at Maria’s, the lady chef who does the cookery demonstrations on my culinary tours — not happening this spring because of the revolution!

It is also beautiful, from the moment you unwrap the baked beetroot to peel it (as you can see from the picture above) to when you mix the purée with the tahini and lemon juice and watch the colour change from a deep purple to a beautiful pink. And it is delicious, provided you don’t kill the subtle earthy flavour of the beetroot with too much tahini, lemon juice and/or garlic. After I took the pictures today, not quite able to control the slight flare at the top of the photograph, I decided to go on a serious photography course as soon as I finish my book and various other commitments. I may even take a film course. Perhaps when I am finished, I will have enough time left to embark on a third career!

beetroot pieces & dip

Beetroot Dip

Serves 6

600 g beetroots

1/3 cup tahini

1 garlic clove, crushed

juice of 1 1/2 lemons, or to taste

sea salt

for garnish

extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 220º C.

2. Gently wash the beetroots and cut the excess stalks but without cutting into the beetroot. You do not want it to bleed during baking. Wrap each beetroot with aluminium foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake the beetroot for 1 1/2 hours, or until very soft.

3. Remove the beetroot from the oven onto a large chopping board. Unwrap, peel. place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the tahini, garlic clove and lemon juice and process until you have a smooth puree. Transfer to a mixing bowl. add salt to taste and more lemon juice or tahini if you feel the dip needs it. Spread on a serving platter, making grooves here and there. Drizzle a little olive oil in the grooves and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve with good bread.

© Anissa Helou


There is 9 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Anissa, thank you for this – I’m always on the lookout for beetroot recipes. We get such beautiful beetroot here in India but I always go a bit blank when it comes to cooking them. Incidentally, which brands od tahina do you recommend – some of the ones we get her seem very bitter


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    you are welcome pamela. i always use a lebanese one called al-yaman and i recommend imported ones, either syrian or lebanese. turkish ones should be good too but i have to check next time i go to my local turkish shop to see how dark it is compared to ours. ours is v smooth and pale and not bitter at all 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I’m all over this – being the granddaughter of Russian/Ukrainian Jews I am genetically besotted with beets, and roasting/baking them turns them into the earthiest rubies around. I’m wondering if I can substitute some of the calorically-dense tahini with some drained yogurt. I realize that will make something completely different – hmmmm, thinking beets, drained yogurt, garlic, lemon, fresh dill, perhaps a soupcon of cream-style horseradish (yes, I am an Ashkenaz when it comes to beet-y things) and a shower of scallions. Hand me the matzo!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Maybe a bit of chopped coriander in place of (or along with?) the scallions. More matzo please, or maybe pita chips (my apologies to all who treat pita with more respect than we Americans do! )


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    definitel strained yoghurt, in which case less lemon juice and i would say herbs over scallions whilst horseradish would be too strong in my humble opinion 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Thank you, Anissa! I hadn’t realized that we had a beet “tarator-style” dip.
    The NY Times taught me to bake beets, a great relief! I put them in an oven-proof container with a lid, a little water, and bake for one hour approximately, no aluminum (less waste!).


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    you’re welcome diane. it’s basically like baba ghannuge but with beets. i also love the butternut squash version and i guess you can try other vegetables. wonder if it’ll work with swede. will look pretty for sure 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I had a chard and tahini dip that Clifford Wright prepared for the party for one of his book. It was very good.
    I think cauliflower would be good too.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i wonder about the cauliflower. let me know when you try it 🙂

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