Amy here today, with beautiful red beets! You know, beet stems look like rhubarb…what if…
I had beets from Tucson CSA and from a friend’s garden. There are plenty of beet root dishes I make, like roasted beet salads, pickled or fermented beets, and borscht. Also, I LOVE cooked beet greens, with their salty, mineral character, sautéed in olive oil and garlic or many other ways. I usually chop the stems and cook along with the leaves, but they have a different texture and make the dish more red than green. Like in beans simmered with greens, or in a quiche, I want less of that hue. What to do with extra beet stems? Since they look like rhubarb, would they work as a substitute????
Rhubarb, and wild desert rhubarb (See Tia Marta’s desert rhubarb upside down cake and pie on this blog) are much more tart that beet stems, so I could add lemon. Strawberries are the classic pair with rhubarb, but raspberries have the tartness I wanted. I harvested wild raspberries in the mountains last summer for the freezer, but they were long gone. A little carton of raspberries from the store had the same volume as the chopped beet stems I had, so that’s what I used.
I simmered the beet stems, raspberries, a lot of lemon juice and zest, sugar and a shot of vanilla, then thickened with cornstarch. A delicious compote. It totally worked!!!!!
There wasn’t enough to fill a pie plate, so I made a few turnovers.
A simple short pastry: butter cut into all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt, a bit of cold water to make it come together, and refrigerated until firm.
After dividing the dough into 8 balls, I rolled one thinly. Then filled with the compote, moistened the edges with water and folded. On ungreased parchment paper, I crimped, poked steam vents, wet the tops with water and sprinkled with sugar. Maybe next time they’ll get egg wash or fancy sugar.
At 425 degrees F they took 20 minutes to get golden brown top and bottom.
They came out flakey, tart, and beautiful color. Don’t waste those beet stems!
Raspberry and Beet Stem Turnovers
by Amy Valdés Schwemm
1 cup red beet stems, chopped
1 cup red raspberries
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup all purpose flour
5 tablespoons cold butter
dash of salt, if using unsalted butter
1/3 cup cold water
Cut butter (and salt if using unsalted butter) into flour to make uneven crumbs. Add water to make a dough, form a ball and refrigerate until firm.
Simmer the beet stems with sugar and lemon juice until tender. Add raspberries and lemon zest, and cook until reduced and the raspberries fall apart. Mix the cornstarch in a tablespoon of water, add to the pan and cook until clear and thickened. Stir in vanilla and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Divide the dough into 8 balls. Roll one ball into a thin circle and fill with two tablespoons of the compote. Moisten the edges with water and fold. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; no need to grease. Crimp the edges with a fork or fingers and poke steam vents in the top with a fork or knife. When all are formed, wet the tops with water or a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, top and bottom.