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beet and pear puree

This veggie dish is unusual and striking in appearance and delicious.  We made
it for our Boxing Day dinner (much as we love to cook, we don't want to do
anything Xmas afternoon but sit and read our new books).  It comes from "Just
Good Food", billed as "a newsletter for people who love food but have a life".

Beet and Pear Puree
Side dish for up to 12; needs a food processor

2 1/2 lb. beets (6 to 8 medium)
1 1/2 c diced onion
[something to caramelize the onion with; the original calls for 6 Tbsp b*tt*r]
2 pears, peeled and diced
1 orange, juice and zest
1/4 c red vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
8 oz dried apricots (about 40, ?the plump kind, not the wood chip kind?[we
used fewer])

Put beets in a pot with water to cover.  Simmer until a knife slides to the
center, about 45 min., then drain and squeeze out of their skins.  Roughly
chop and set aside.
Meanwhile, gently cook the onions in whatever until caramelized, i.e. deep
brown; 30 minutes or so, stir often.
Add pears, zest, OJ, vinegar, salt, and a couple grindings of pepper.  Simmer
until pears are soft and pan juices syrupy, 15-20 minutes.  The puree the beet
and pear/onion mixture. 
Set aside the prettiest 10 apricots.  Cut the rest in quarters and stir them
Spread the puree mix into a baking dish (2 qt, glass is pretty); if you saved
out some apricots, arrange them around the edge..  Cover with alum foil.
Bake at 350 until quite hot and slightly puffy, about 30 minutes; if you
worked ahead and have refrigerated the mix, give it 1 1/2 hours.

This is easiest with a 2nd person to do the onions while you deal with beets
and getting the orange, etc., ready.  Actually we just put the apricots into
the simmering mixture and pureed them with the rest.