I love Ana Sortun’s beet tzatziki. Love it. Think about it when I don’t have any, which is most of the time. And then sometimes run over to Sortun’s cafe, Sofra, to buy some. Forget about The Professor for the moment, who has an aversion to dill. I could eat a pint of Sortun’s beet tzatziki straight. And actually, I might have, because I craved it when I was pregnant last year and eating … robustly.
In any case, my CSA box from Siena Farms this week included beets and Ana’s tzatziki recipe! Now, at the very least, I’ll be able to satisfy my cravings without waiting in line at Sofra. And I might even be able to tweak the tweak the recipe (replacing the dill with a mix of parsley and basil maybe?) to make it more popular with The Professor. He does love beets, after all.
Ana Sortun’s Beet Tzatziki
2 tsp fresh lemon juice or to taste
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups yogurt or labneh
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill
1 to 1/2 cups cooked shredded beets
Combine the lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Stir in the yogurt, olive oil, dill, and pepper. Fold in the beets and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This blog, as many of you know, was named for Martha Rose Shulman’s beet risotto. I’ve usually made it with red beets, but last night I used a combination of red and golden and it was beautiful.
Martha Rose Shulman wrote about about beet risotto in The New York Time’s Recipes for Health section back in 2008, though I came across it just last summer. When I first announced that I was cooking a beet risotto for dinner, The Professor gave me his “do you know what you are doing” eye brow raise.
I didn’t, but I forged on, figuring that, at the very least, the effort would produce some cooked beets — one of the more nutritious foods that my three-year-old daughter will eat. (Dave Lieberman, a Food Network chef and author of The 10 Things You Need to Eat, calls beets “nature’s multivitamin.”) Despite his initial skepticism, The Professor liked it. So I tried it again, and then another time. And then it inspired my husband’s challenge.
You can see the original article here, with its step-by-step cooking instructions. My version of the ingredients list (which I’m still tinkering with) follows:
1+ bunch large beets, roasted or steamed
1 bunch beet greens, stemmed, washed, and cut into 1-inch ribbons
6 to 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
The Professor, as I’ve said, gave the dish an A. I’m still trying to analyze what made the dish so satisfying. If you add enough butter or cheese any risotto can feel rich, and I did double the amount of parmesan recommended in the original recipe But I wonder, could there be something about the iron in the beets that makes this dish satisfy a regular meat-eater?