Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Curried Beet Greens Brunch Platter

I didn't really know what to expect when I lopped these greens off at the rubber band-tied stems, gave them a rough chop, and tossed them in a pan popping ...

I didn’t really know what to expect when I lopped these greens off at the rubber band-tied stems, gave them a rough chop, and tossed them in a pan popping with garlic, shallots and olive oil. I didn’t expect that their juicy stems would bleed all over the place, staining the aromatics hot pink with every turn of the spatula. I didn’t expect the leaves to be as tender as they felt when the knife went through them, since they looked kind of ragged at first glimpse. And I certainly didn’t expect them to taste as mild and utterly un-bitter as any light, springy lettuce green might when cooked. Nor that its semi-hollow stems would soak up as much flavor, while retaining a delicate crispness against the elements. Never have I underestimated a vegetable as much as perhaps the shocking beet green.

red, green and delicious all over

Isn’t cooking with new toys wonderful? I bought a bunch of beets with their greens still attached at the Greenmarket on Saturday, and chose one with the freshest-looking leaves. It’s like a two-for-one purchase, for $2.75 a pop. I roasted those beets up right away. These went into salads or were eaten just straight throughout the week. The beet greens, however, turned out to be prize jewel of this bunch. Closely related to Swiss chard, they’re even better than this mild, perfect stir-fry green in my opinion because of their stems. Don’t chuck them, whatever you do. Unlike thick and fibrous stems that aggravate your sautéeing time because they generally need to cook longer than the delicate leaves, the beet greens’ stems are fine and delicate to begin with. But they’re also really, really red. So red that they hold the same antioxidant-rich nutrients as those things on the other end of the plant do — what were they called? Oh right, beets.

the sautéeing gets underway

Anyway. There’s nothing I love more than a tender green sautéed in garlic and olive oil. I hope there is never a shortage of new ones to try this out with. So here’s what I did with these, once I gave them a good taste: It was late for brunch, a lazy Sunday morning. I had a couple potatoes boiling on the opposite burner. An egg in the fridge. Put together, and spiced boldly with a small dash of curry powder, this made for an altogether uniquely satisfying brunch. I hope you like it as much as I did. Otherwise, I’d sound like a pretty big fool for food right now, wouldn’t I?

for more egg poaching tips, check out Deb’s little tutorial

Curried Beet Greens Brunch Platter
(makes 2 servings)

1 bunch beet greens, roughly chopped
about 4 baby red potatoes, boiled and sliced
2 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs
1 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon vinegar

Heat the shallots and garlic with the oil under medium-low heat until tender, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Add the beet greens and cook another minute. Add the sliced potatoes and stir. Season with the curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water with the vinegar to boil. Reduce heat to low so that the water is very barely boiling, in infrequent bubbles. Crack one egg into a small bowl. Slowly slide the egg into the water. Repeat process with the other egg. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes.

Transfer the beet green and potato mixture to to two plates. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place ceremoniously on top of each plate. Serve immediately.

Cost Calculator
(for 2 servings)

1 bunch beet greens (at $2.75 bunch with the beets attached… so half that?): $1.38
4 baby red potatoes (at $1.50/lb): $1.50
2 shallots: $0.25
2 eggs: $0.50
2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon curry powder, salt, pepper, olive oil: $0.40

Total: $4.03

Health Factor

Two brownie points: This is sort of a perfect meal. You have your veggies, you have your starch; you have your little bit of protein (egg), and your little bit of fat (egg yolk, olive oil). Beet greens may be similar in taste to chard, but it kicks the latter leafy greens in the stem in terms of nutritional content. I’d try to illustrate what those deep hues exactly tell you, but it’s probably simpler to just look at the chart here and the list here.

Green Factor


Seven maple leaves: I made good use of the Greenmarket last Saturday. My entire food purchases for the week, pretty much. Anyway, it took care of basically everything for this dish, except for little pinches of seasoning, the olive oil and the garlic.

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11 Responses to “Curried Beet Greens Brunch Platter”

  1. Joanna says:

    Mmm, this looks delicious, and I love that you don’t need to cut the stems out and cook them separately. That’s one of the reasons I don’t buy chard very often, actually – the preparation just takes so long!

    I saw a pretty funny sight at the greenmarket last weekend: beets with greens attached and a big sign labeled “beets,” right next to turnips with greens attached labeled “turnip greens.” But of course both are really 2 vegetables in one, which is great!

  2. bionicgrrrl says:

    i love beet greens also, but you have to be careful with the color bleeding. i added beet greens to miso soup once, and completely frightened my boyfriend with the bloody soup.

  3. Naomi says:

    Just made these for mom and the boyfriend for brunch. I made golden beets last night with dinner and saved the greens for this very recipe. Awesome, awesome and even more awesome. Definitely a hit. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. maggie says:

    A friend at my CSA said that beet and chard plants are actually very closely related, so eating the greens is a must!! Though I guess they wilt quickly, so you have to cook them right away!

  5. Sarah says:

    I am ashamed to say I was one of those “beet green cutting” offenders. I knew the greens were edible but had no idea what to do with them. Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it last night and it was fantastic, and gave my taste buds something new. I even managed to poach the eggs in one try, which I was very proud of after just watching Julie Powell’s numerous attempts in Julie & Julia.

  6. Jane says:

    I wasn’t sure if I could use the stems along with the beet greens … so I turned to the Internet and found your blog.

    I’m now sitting here with a delicious bowl of greens (with stems) cooked in the vegetable broth with garlic, salt & pepper that I cooked my chicken legs in. I can’t say which is yummier now, the greens or the broth! (I hate chard, by the way … so, a note to chard haters: you gotta try beet greens!)

    Thanks for the tips, and I’ve bookmarked your blog.

  7. moot says:

    The following was a great

  8. bean says:

    good stuff, cathy! : )

  9. David Schrimsher says:

    My wife is vegetarian but I am not. I cook the majority of the time. I try to find recipes that are veggie that I can cook that will satisfy both of us. But it’s rare that I don’t cook with two pots. One with meat, one without. but this will become a staple. We love beets but I had never cooked beet greens. What an oversight!

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