Kate's Cuisine

Oct 17 2016

Harvard Beets


Harvard beets are a funny thing. They’re kind of like pickled beets, but instead of being simmered in a pickling liquid and served cold, they’re quickly run through a warm gastrique and served hot. I spent some time trying to find out why these particular beets are known as Harvard beets, but my search was in vain. I still don’t know how this dish got its name, but I can only guess it’s because some Harvard genius served pickled beets warm one day and, rather than admit their mistake, simply gave them a new name. What I do know is that they’re damned good!

  • 4 beets, scrubbed and trimmed $1.00
  • 3/4 cup white sugar $0.15
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar $0.27
  • 1/4 cup water Free, with your water bill!
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil $0.18
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch $0.27
  • Salt, to taste $0.01

Total cost $1.88
Cost per serving $0.47

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Toss the beets with the olive oil and a bit of salt. Individually wrap each beet with aluminum foil and, when the oven is hot, place inside and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until the beets are fork-tender. When beets are finished, unwrap the foil and let cool for just a minute or so. When cool enough to handle, slip the skin off the beets. If you wait too long, as the beets cool, that skin will tighten up and cling to the flesh once again so it’s easiest if you do this as soon as you can.

2.) Once the beets are peeled, slice them about 1/4″ thick, if using large beets or, slice in half if using smaller beets.

3.) Place the water in a medium-sized saucepan and add to it the sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to mix and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until the sauce is thickened.

4.) Add the sliced beets to the sauce in the pan and stir to mix through. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, just until the beets are heated through.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

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