With Fall around the corner, we’re so looking forward to the abundance of the familiar produce that tends to adorn our dining table right through to Thanksgiving.

When visiting any Napa wineries, you’ll hear our local winemakers suggesting favorite Fall foods to pair with their wines. While we naturally think of squash galore, another sweet and delicious Fall offering is beets. This succulent taproot is harvested after maturing through summer, when temperatures cool down. Beets can be extra-tender and sweet, with greens as buttery as spinach.

Besides being delicious, beets are great way to bring a salad to life, or to serve as an exciting stand-alone dish for impressing your dinner guests.

Beets can be brought to the next level when lightly tossed with a sweet mustard vinaigrette and a crumble of goat’s cheese. Today we’re sharing a foolproof way to achieve candy sweet roast beets at home. A little-known secret is baking with orange juice and adding a hefty handful of aromatic herbs.

For the roast beets

4-6                  small purple or golden beets, unpeeled
1 cup               orange juice
2 sprigs           thyme, fresh
1 tbsp              olive oil
¼ tsp               kosher salt
aluminum foil

For the mustard vinaigrette

4 tbsp              extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp                whole grain mustard
1-2 Tbsp          white wine vinegar (sharp & acidic) OR apple cider vinegar (sweet) (to your taste)
1 tsp                honey
¼ tsp               kosher salt

To serve

3 Tbsp             goat’s cheese
3 Tbsp             walnuts, chopped
1 sprig             dill, fresh
zest                 lemon

  1. Preheat oven to 375º/ 190ºC. Place unpeeled beets in a 9”x 9” baking tray with orange juice a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil.

Tip: Here you can also add any assortment of aromatic herbs and dried spices. Some noble substitutes include coriander seed, dried juniper berries, cilantro, parsley, or scallions.

  1. Bake for 60 minutes until you can poke a skewer through the beets with no resistance. If you sense any resistance with the skewer, your beets may need 10 minutes longer. Allow to cool in foil before peeling and slicing into small wedges. The beet skin should slip off effortlessly. (You may wish to use gloves here or remove skin under running water to avoid stained fingers).
  2. Prepare mustard vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake vigorously, or combine in a bowl and emulsify with a whisk.
  3. Serve with crumbled goat’s cheese, broken walnuts, dill and lemon zest for an exuberant pop of freshness.

 

Beets are in fact a fun option when playing with food and wine pairings. The sweet and earthy flavor of roast beets creates an appealing accompaniment to whites and reds you’re sure to find at one of the Napa wineries you visit. Whether you prefer light and perfumed wines from the cool Carneros region or rich and complex red from one of our partner Calistoga wineries.

 

Image and recipe courtesy of Chef Tim Neumann of Napa’s Harvest Epicure @harvest.epicure.