How can you go wrong with beets and goat cheese? It’s one of my favorite combos. A long time ago I found this recipe and it was love at first bite. It is stunning with the deep red beets, sparkling greens and white goat cheese. That combination is amazing. This recipe uses that winning combo but amps it up a notch with a white cream sauce to bind it all together.
The French have perfected this combination with a salad of beets and goat cheese. I do love that salad, it is easy to prepare and it is one of my favorites. It’s a salad that brightens up the winter table. Who says you can’t do that in a gratin?
Years ago one of my friends loved beets and she was always asking me to make them for her. She had moved away from Mom and didn’t cook. I had never had anything but canned beets and thought they were pretty horrid. One day I came across a beet gratin in a magazine and it looked good so I surprised her with it. This dish was the hit of the eventing! I’ve made this to rave reviews over the years. I wish I could say I still have the original recipe. It has disappeared long before the internet became my resource. Now this has evolved into my version of the beet gratin.
Note: I serve this as a vegetarian main course with a salad or it is amazing with any roasted pork, chicken or grilled steak.
Beet, Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin
- 2 lbs Bunches of Red Beets with their Greens about 6 medium beets or 3 .
- 2 cups Leeks dark greens trimmed, washed and white and light green parts sliced, about 2
- 2 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter plus more to coat the baking dish
- 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
- 4 Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
- 3 Cups of Whole Milk
- 2 Ounces of Goat Cheese crumbled
- 2 Tablespoons of Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
- salt and freshly ground pepper
To Finish the Gratin
- 2 Ounces of Goat Cheese crumbled
- 2 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Remove the beets from the stems and greens. Set the greens aside for a moment and wash the beets. On a baking sheet lay a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil on it. Make sure it is large enough to hole the beets in one tightly sealed package. Wrap up the beets and roast them in the oven for 45 - 50 minutes until a knife can be inserted easily into a beet. Set aside to cool. reduve the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Lightly coat the inside of a baking dish with the butter and set aside.
While the beets are roasting, prepare the beet greens: Thoroughly wash the stems and the greens, then place them on a dishtowel to drain. Remove the stems from the greens. Chop them int 1/2 inch pieces and reserve 2 cups of the chopped stems and reserve the rest for another use. Cut the beet greens into ribbons and place in a colander. Set aside.
In a 12 inch sauté pan melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and the beet stems and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the beet greens and stir until wilted, 5 or 10 minutes. Cook and stir until all of the water has evaporated from the pan.Set aside.
Make the Béchamel: Melt the butter over low heat taking care not to scorch it. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk until a paste forms. Slowly add the milk and whisk until smooth. Add the goat cheese and pecorino romano, whisk until incorporated. season with salt and pepper to taste.
heat the pan with the greens and make sure all for the water has evaporated. Combine 1 cup of the béchamel into the greens and combine. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Peel the beets and thinly slice them with a knife or a mandoline. The slices should be no more than 1/8 inch thick.
Line the baking dish with half of the beet slices. Spread the filling of greens, leeks and béchamel over the beet layer, topping this with the remaining beet slices. You should have a thick layer of beets on the top and botom of the gratin.
Pour the remaining béchamel sauce over the beets, scatter the remaining crumbled goat cheese and grated romano over the top of the gratin and bake in the over for 20 - 25 minutes until the top is brown and the gratin is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and cool for 15 - 20 minutes before slicing.
The beets, greens and stems can be prepared a day in advance. Refrigerate in separate containers and bring the beets to room temperature before continuing.
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