Roast beetroot and chocolate

I had an old friend coming to dinner. There are doses of comfort and pressure when feeding old friends. Comfort in that you hope no matter what you cook it shouldn’t matter- they’ve come to see you.

Pressure in that you need dinner to be a non event. What they haven’t come to see is you; flustered and flurried in a kitchen.

What I want is a few simple platters. Some terrine and cheeses, perhaps a few radishes, butter, salt and bread to start. This can be laid out. All I need to think about is popping a cork on a bottle of champagne and letting the conversation roll.

Then I want some protein that can be quickly prepared- game birds like duck, partridge, or even when we were back in Australia- kangaroo- are what I often call on; a hot pan, some proper seasoning and 10 minutes. Then they’re ready- rosy pink and blushing like an eager school girl.

It needs a nice salad; leaves made more interesting with a few toasted hazelnuts and some fine slivers of red onion that you’ve let steep in sherry vinegar so they lose their aggressive bite.

All that’s left is a killer side dish. This is where the beets come into play.

They’re robust enough that you don’t need to scraping around for potatoes or starches to fill the table. When roasted in their skins, protected under a canopy of foil they become stickily sweet. On their own they’d be fine. But a grating of bitter dark chocolate really makes them sing.

Beetroot and chocolate have long been friends- the internet is teeming with recipes for their escapades in  chocolate and beetroot brownies, whoopie pies and cake pops.

The chocolate adds murky mystery, the beetroot a pungent sweetness. They bring out the best in each other. They don’t often get a chance to meet up on a savoury platform. I think this needs to change.

They hold each other up. They bring out the best in each other.

They’re the perfect thing to serve an old friend.

Roast beetroot with dark chocolate

Serves 4-6 as a side dish. It’s excellent with kangaroo, duck or any game birds.

1 roasting tin. 1 microplane/ grater. Tin foil.

Shopping/ foraging

2 bunches of fresh beetroot (best if you can get varying colours)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of grated very dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids, but 85%- 90% is best).

Here’s how we roll

1. Heat the oven to 200C/ 400 F. Wash the beetroot to remove any dirt and trip the stalks to leave a few centimetres of stalk left.

2. Ensure all the beetroot are around the same size. If some are markedly different, cut them in half to get an even cooking time.

3. Drizzle the beetroots with olive oil and season with salt.

4. Cover the roasting tray with foil. Place the beetroots in the oven and bake for 1.5- 2 hours.

5. The beetroots should be cooked well enough for the skins to peel off in your hands. (nb, allow the beets to cool a little before you start trying to peel off the skin.

6. Grate the dark chocolate over the top of the beets. Season with a little extra salt and pepper. You can serve these either hot or warm.

  1. This sounds excellent. I've seen recipes for beet and choc cake, obviously they are sort of meant for each other:) Hope the dinner party went well, I am sure it did

  2. never in a million years would i have thought to grate chocolate over roasted beets. now i must try!

  3. Absolutely fascinating! This is something I'd really love to try!
    *kisses* HH

  4. I recently picked up a copy of the flavour thesaurus in a bid to get my head around whacky and weird food combinations. I know chocolate works well with a lot of food but this isn't one that would have crossed our mind. Having read this post, I now have a fairly good idea that it would be divine.
    We noticed quite a bit of beetroot in Borough Market this weekend (being in season and all) so will pick some up next week and give this a whirl.

  5. Do you actually get beetroot in different colours! I have only ever seen one colour. Chocolate and beetroot in savoury – i would never have dreamed about it. Now that i know they can be combined this way, i have to see what i can do with it 🙂

  6. chocolate and beetroot- the best of both worlds right!? This has been added to my summer starters menu- thanks 

  7. I have baked beets and chocolate cake before. I never actually thought of other recipes using both. I will try this one. Looks delicious!

  8. That is a great tip. I had heard of beetroot brownies but never thought of this. Now I just have to convince several people how good beetroot is.

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