I LOVE beetroot. As well as the gorgeous earthy, sweet flavour I also love the amazing purple colour that looks so fantastic on a plate. This weekend I found myself with 2 bunches of beetroot in the fridge that I hadn't got around to cooking yet and that really needed to be put to use (they were also taking up heaps of crisper space!) so I thought that I would make my own beetroot relish. I happened to have a few really nice organic apples in the fruit bowl as well, so I thought I would put the two together with onions and some spices and see what I could come up with. It was all a bit of an experiment, but the result was so good that I thought I would share it with you all.
Unlike most relishes that are made completely on the stovetop, I did mine mainly in the oven. The reason for this, is that roasting the onions, apples and beetroot will give you a much richer, more complex flavour, as well as caramelising all of the natural sugars found in the ingredients. The resulting relish is quite thick, instead of the thinner, vinegar based relishes that you might be used to.
This relish is beautiful with grilled or roasted red meat, perfect for homemade hamburgers or to enjoy with all kinds of cheese - it is especially good with a sharp cheddar or a tangy, creamy goat cheese. You could also eat it with fresh carrots or radishes as a dip. The other great thing about this tasty purple concoction is that it makes a really excellent edible gift for food loving friends. Just fill up a jar with the relish (gives you a perfect chance to recycle any jars you have lying around in the cupboard) add a cool, homemade label and a gift tag and there you go - a delicious, inexpensive and handmade gift.
Beetroot and Apple Relish
As well as tasting great, you also have the added health bonus of beetroot being ridiculously good for you. It is a powerful antioxidant, choc full of potassium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A,C and B6. It is great for lowering cholesterol, stabilises blood sugar and is excellent for fatigue. Lots of good reasons to eat it regularly. Beetroot is currently in season, so it is at it's best right now. What are you waiting for? Embrace purple power.
You will need: 8 large raw beetroot, 3 large red onions, 3 large apples, 4 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 heaped tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, salt, pepper.
Method: Chop the leafy tops off the beetroot and place the beets in a pot of plain water, ensuring they are covered. Bring them to the boil and allow them to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Drain off all the water and run the beets under cold water. When they are cool enough to touch, rub off the outside skin and stalks with your hands. Doing this in a bowl of cold water makes this process easier, and also stops your hands from getting too stained with beetroot juice. Chop each beet into 4-6 pieces. Put the beetroot aside.
Roughly chop the onions and the apples (you can leave the skin on the apples, but remove the cores) Peel the garlic cloves and cut them in half.
Preheat the oven to 200C
In a baking paper lined baking dish, combine the beets, onions and all of the other ingredients. Season generously with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly (clean hands are best for this)
Bake the mixture in the oven for an hour, stirring it a couple of times during cooking. When done, allow the ingredients to cool.
In a food processor, blend the mixture into a consistency you are happy with. You could make it super smooth, almost like a sauce or a little more rustic, which is how I like it. If the relish is a little too stiff, simply add small amounts of warm water. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if required.
Decant the relish into clean, well sealed jars or an airtight container. Store in the fridge and use within 4 weeks.
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