Just looking at that makes my mouth water. I’m overcome by the gloriously red flesh, the hints of muscular texture, and the overwhelming feeling that my neighbors might taste better with a nice citrus-ginger glaze. Wait. No. I mustn’t think that way. These feelings aren’t real. I’m a person, not a monster. I can’t be craving human flesh.
Oh, wait. I’m not. Those are beets.
Er, is that really any better?
Look, I know what you’re thinking. If you have to choose between cannibalism and eating a bloody red beet, there’s a guy in Human Resources who looks like he’d be as tender as Kobe Beef. Trust me, though. Most people don’t realize more than 20% of the world’s sugar comes from beets. If you like sweet potatoes, you really should give beets a try. They’re a naturally sweet, incredibly cheap, mellow root vegetable that doesn’t get enough love because working with them makes everything you touch look like a murder scene.
You won’t find a better dish for a zombie theme party – not even actual raw meat. Properly cooked, beets look more like fresh slices of human flesh than steak, pork, or bison. They’re also dirt cheap. Make up a batch and you’ll have a great, dramatic theme dish for a zombie party that just so happens to make your vegan friends think you went out of your way just for them.
For this beet dish, start by picking out the largest beets you can find. Your grocery store or farmer’s market will probably stock two types. Baby beets typically come with the edible greens attached. You can eat the leaves in a salad and the roots in any beet dish. Baby beets are pretty darn small, though, and take forever to peel.
You want the full sized beets. They’re usually not sold with the greens attached, since the mature greens are too cynical, tough, and bitter to use in a salad. As you’ve already learned elsewhere in this cookbook, full sized beets are often the same size as a human heart. They also yield larger, fleshier slices.
Citrus Ginger Roasted Beet Flesh
• 2 pounds large beets
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 freshly squeezed large orange
• ½ inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced
• 2 tsp honey
• 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
• ½ tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 400F.
While the oven heats up, scrub the dirt off your beets. (I have no idea why they’re always sold looking like they were pulled out of the dirt 20 minutes ago.) Now peel them. Admire the dark red interior. Try not to stress over how much that bloody color seems to be soaking into your cuticles.
Pick the widest possible angle on your beets and cut them into ½ inch thick slices. Once you have a big mound of disturbingly bloody looking beets, toss them in your quarter cup of olive oil. You want to make sure the beets are thoroughly coated.
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the beet slices out in a single layer. Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, carefully flip all the beet slices so you roast the other side. If you don’t do this, one side will burn and the other will stay raw. Flip them at 20 minutes and you’ll get nice caramelized edges on both sides.
Put the flipped beets back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
While you’re waiting, mix up the glaze. Pour a splash of olive oil in a small saucepan. Toss in your freshly minced ginger. Cook that for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, to get the most flavor. Add your balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and freshly squeezed orange. Gently simmer the mix, stirring frequently, until the beets are done.
I’m a big fan of saving dishes. When you take the beets out of the oven, toss them right back in the same bowl you used to coat them in olive oil. Pour the fresh, hot glaze on top of the beets. Do you best to drizzle it into the corners and edges, but DO NOT STIR. If you do, you’ll break the beets into mushy little pieces.
Now comes the hard part. Walk away. The beets need to cool for at least 10 minutes before you touch them. Otherwise, you risk breaking them apart. This would leave you with a not-so-fleshy beet mash instead of the majestic vegetable steaks you see in the photo.
You can serve them straight from the mixing bowl. However, if you want to add a bit of dramatic flair, carefully lift them out of the bowl with a slotted spoon and arrange them with the rest of your tragic human remains. Drizzle any remaining glaze on top.
Since there are very good odds you’re making these for looks (and to get into that hot vegan’s pants), make yourself actually try one bite. It won’t infect you with a zombie virus. I promise. But it just might introduce you to a tasty, cheap vegetable you can use to impress your foodie friends.
Psst! This year’s crop of Halloween recipes are ripped straight from the pages of Kitchen Overlord’s upcoming cookbook: Dead Delicious!
Whether your Halloween revolves around zombies, slashers, or body horror, you can cover your table with so many eyes, ears, guts, and brains your kitchen will look like the aftermath of a horror movie. Click here to get your copy now, just in time for Halloween!