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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Recipes–Sautéed Beet Leaves With Caramelized Onions, Sherry, And Porcini Mushrooms

This is a delicious, easy-to-prepare dish.  These days the beet tops or leaves are usually left attached to the beets and not sold separately.  However, you would be surprised how many people cut and toss them.  If you are at a farmers’ market where they have fresh beets, ask the vendor if he has any leaves.  Customers often ask to have the tops cut off.  They came for beets, not for leaves.

A classic Mediterranean combination is Swiss chard, dried mushrooms, and chick peas; and this recipe is based on that preparation.  Dried, strong-flavored mushrooms go particularly well with high-flavor leaves, such as chard or beet tops.  Sherry is the other ingredient which is very complementary to the mushrooms and the vegetable.

What makes this dish particularly good is caramelized onions in browned European butter.  The taste is nutty, fragrant, and sweet; and the mixture makes an excellent base for the vegetable.

Sautéed Beet Leaves with Caramelized Onions, Sherry, and Porcini Mushrooms 

* 1 lb. beet tops (at least).  If you can’t find that many, you can substitute fresh spinach.  You can use all spinach, but it does not have the earthy taste you get with beets. One pound sounds like a lot, but it boils down to very little

* 1 med. onion, chopped

* 1/2 cup dried porcini or other high-flavor mushroom, rehydrated

* 1 1/2 Tbsp. European butter

* 1/2 cup sherry (Amontillado is best)

* 10 grindings fresh black pepper

* Salt to taste

- Clean the beet tops well (they can be gritty), cut leaves and stems into pieces, and steam until done (the stems should be easy to bite through)

- Drain well, chop well on a cutting board and reserve

- Melt the butter in a skillet and let it brown (not burn)

- Add the onions and cook over high heat until they are brown

- Add the rehydrated mushrooms and stir well.

- Add the sherry, keep the heat high and cook until it evaporates

- Add the chopped beet leaves and ground pepper and cook over high heat for about ten minutes, turning frequently

- Serve

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