Beets for Beet Haters

Gloria hates beets. I hate beets. Every year, Gloria plants lots of beets in the garden.

Every year I ask her, “So, why do you plant beets? You know we both hate them.”

“Because they are good for us,” she says.

Gloria hates beets. I hate beets.

 

This year we had yet another bumper crop of beets. I started thinking of all the vegetables we like. I realized there aren’t many vegetables we don’t enjoy. Beets are just about the only item on the list. “Eat ’em because they’re good for you” isn’t working for me any more. Plus, I don’t like the idea of growing beets just to compost most of them. “Is there some recipe we find, or create, that would allow us to enjoy eating beets?” I asked.

“Not pickled!” Gloria said, “or I’ll run out of here screaming.”

“Right,” I said, “and not Harvard Beets. YUCK!”

“You do realize many people like beets those ways?” Gloria asked.

“But not us!” I said.

I began exploring ways to eat beets. I paused and smiled at myself. What I’m doing is the mark of a dedicated foodie. Not just anyone would search for ways to eat a food they don’t like. I continued on. So far we’ve ruled out any form of pickled or boiled beets.

That leaves raw, baked, steamed, fried and concealed. That means there are a lot of ideas to explore. I’m male – let’s start with fried. We’ll get to other ideas in future blogs.

I Googled fried beets and came up with a recipe for Red Flannel Hash. Following the recipe carefully, I dutifully peeled and cubed a 2 1/2” beet into half inch cubes. Then I peeled and cubed two medium potatoes. Looked like I had about three times as many cubed potatoes as beet cubes. I heated two tablespoons of olive oil in our trusty cast iron frying pan and dumped in the beets and potatoes.

According to the recipe, I would be transported to foodie Nirvana after I had fried the mixture over medium heat for about 20 minutes. The potatoes were bright red from contact with the beets and perfectly cooked. BEAUTIFUL! But the beets weren’t even close to cooked. Five minutes more frying. The potatoes are beginning to turn to mush, but the beets were still hard. I served them anyway. It was challenging to eat potato mush dotted with half cooked fibrous beet rocks.

I got them down with lots of salt and apple ketchup. Gloria passed on the ketchup. She also passed on the rest of her beets and potatoes.

“The taste shows promise,” I said.

“With a lot more work,” she said.

Then Gloria swung into action.

She shredded the beets and placed them into the hot frying pan. While they were cooking, she shredded the potatoes and added them to the beets. The beets got about 5-7 minutes cooking before the potatoes were added. After an additional 20 minutes, the beets and potatoes both were perfectly done.

Plastter of Red FLanel Hash
Platter of Red Flannel Hash

She served the dish. Gentleman that I am, I waited for her to take the first bite. I think she was waiting for me. I watched her and she watched me. Finally, without a word, our forks simultaneously took up a few shreds and place them in our mouths.

Eyes wide, we looked at each other. Then quickly, we took another bite.

“THIS IS GOOD!” I said.

Gloria nodded, as she stuffed in another bite.

Red Flannel Hash
Author: Gloria and Major Stewart
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium beet shredded
  • 6 medium potatoes
Instructions
  1. <li class=”instruction”>Heat the oil in a 10″ frying pan over medium heat.</li>
  2. Coarsely, chop the onion. Begin sauteing in the oil.
  3. Split the jalapeno, remove the seeds, and finely chop. Wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly immediately after handling the pepper. Add to the onion.
  4. Shred the beet and add to the frying pan.
  5. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  6. Peel and dice the potato into 3/8″ cubes and add it to the frying pan.
  7. Turn the mixture in the frying pan every few minutes. Cooking time, after adding the potatoes, is about 20 minutes.
Notes
Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of jalapeno to reflect your tastes in spicy dishes. Frequent stirring is important because the beets are sticky and burn easily.

 

 

Closeup of Red Flannel Hash
Closeup of Red Flannel Hash

After my plate was about half empty, I remembered our Apple Ketchup. Went to the fridge, grabbed a bottle and daubed a dollop on the remaining red flannel hash.

“WOW! That was really good.”

With enthusiasm, we’ve developed this further. Here is where we are now:

Red Flannel Hash with Apple Ketchup
Red Flannel Hash with Apple Ketchup

 

I like Red Flannel Hash with apple ketchup. Gloria says if she were a ketchup person, she would like them together too. How do you like your Red Flannel Hash?

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