Sweet, tender and earthy, the humble beet is elevated to a level of creamy deliciousness in this dish of Ruby Cream Baked Beets. Layer the ingredients in a baking dish and tuck it into the oven for easy, unattended baking and serve it as a stunning, jewel-toned side dish. An extra special winter warmer. (Skip to recipe.)

white dish with creamy, shredded baked beets

Our tropical paradise is over – the little hiatus of above-seasonal temperatures we’ve been enjoying for the last few weeks has vanished and true Alberta winter has settled in. The thermometer has been dropping to -20°C the last couple nights, the chickens have been shut into their coop, and Pippa only manages to sit at the back door begging for treats for a few minutes before she heads back to curl up in her cozy, heatlamp-warmed, hay-lined nest in the front room of the chicken shed. As for me, I’m staying happily indoors except for brief stints to feed the animals and collect the eggs. I’m sipping many cups of hot tea, wearing my wooly slippers, and catching up on my online courses (with a little procrasti-baking thrown in for good measure).

On the menu are warm curries, comforting stews, and long slow braises and roasts. To complete the meal and cut down on last minute prep, I love popping a delicious side dish into the oven alongside a roasting piece of meat.

This hearty, flavour-loaded dish of creamy baked beets is just the thing to hit all the winter comfort highlights. It’s got that rich caramelized flavour of roasted root vegetables, amplified by a touch of sweet caraway seeds, mild onions, and sharp garlic. A drizzle of cream adds rich juiciness and ties it all together in a silky jumble of glistening ruby shreds. These beets are an absolute hit alongside a pork or beef roast, a meatloaf, or a roast chicken. Their bright colour and sweet earthiness add warm winter comfort to your meal.

fresh shredded beets

raw shredded beets – they dazzle with jewel-like colour

drizzling fresh cream on the shredded beets

when you add a few aromatics and seasoning, then drizzle with thick cream and slowly roast, you turn the lowly beet into a most delicious side dish

The poor, humble beet is often overlooked – not invited to the popular veggies’ dinner parties. It really deserves to be pulled out of hiding and turned into the star of the show every now and then, where it can impress with its rich magenta colour, its sweet earthy flavour, and its amped-up nutritional profile. These babies are really good for you, they contain a bit of almost all the nutrients you need daily, and are low in calories but high in fiber and antioxidants that help reduce high blood pressure and inflammation, plus they help support brain health and digestive health – all in a deliciously sweet veggie package.

Look at that gorgeous colour! I can’t wait to dig in.

lifting a spoonful of luscious red beet gratin

Beets are my heroes.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Beets have a natural affinity with caraway seeds (which are not only tasty, with a faint anise flavour, but are a natural digestive aid, too). However, you can substitute the caraway with dried tarragon, which has some similar flavour notes, or omit it altogether.

If you’re looking for a little crunch on top of the baked beets, toss on a handful of chopped, toasted walnuts, or add a sprinkle of chopped parsley for colour and freshness. But really, the beets are absolutely delicious just as they are.

roasting dish of beet gratin out of the oven

Ruby Cream Baked Beets

  • 4 medium-large red beets (1¼ lbs/565 g), about 4 cups peeled & shredded
  • ½ small red or yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (or dried tarragon)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • a sprinkling of pepper
  • ½ cup (120ml) heavy cream/whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • a handful of chopped, toasted walnuts and /or chopped parsley – optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, but leave the root end attached (it provides a handhold for shredding the beets). Shred the beets on the large hole of a box grater (or trim the root ends off and use a food processor to shred them). You should have about 4 cups in total.

Spread half of the shredded beets into an ungreased casserole dish, deep dish pie plate, or 10-inch pie plate. Evenly sprinkle over the diced onion, minced garlic, caraway seeds (or tarragon), salt, and pepper. Spread the remaining shredded beets over the onions and seasonings, smoothing them to lay in an even layer.

Slowly drizzle the heavy cream over the shredded beets, trying to moisten the whole top. Dot with the butter in little ¼ teaspoon bits.

Cover the dish with a lid or tin foil pressed firmly around the edges to make a close seal.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the lid or foil, and bake for 15 more minutes uncovered.

Serves 4-5.

Guten Appetit!

 

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