Today's Storecupboard Secret isn't exactly a secret, I'm sure everyone has used them before... Vacuum-Packed Beetroots. For the last week I've had in my fridge a pack of these, sitting alongside 4 fresh raw beetroot. I know which would win a blindfolded taste and texture test hands down, but the pure convenience of the pre-cooked packet can't be underestimated.
When I get home from work, (particularly on these dark evenings), faced with an hour or more of roasting or boiling, followed by that messy job of peeling, the raw beetroots very rarely make it on to a plate.
If I'm serving it roasted as a vegetable in its own right, I'll definately use the fresh stuff, but when it is incorporated into a recipe as below, I don't think there's any shame in taking a quick shortcut, and most vacuum-packed stuff is grown and prepared in the UK, (check before you buy), so we're still supporting the British beetroot industry by buying it.
Here's a quick tart recipe that makes a lovely weekend lunch and is a doddle to prepare with some clever supermarket shortcuts! Beetroot and goat's cheese are both very sweet, so the acidity of the balsamic onions is key here.
A Quick Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Tart with Balsamic Red Onions
- 1 red onion
- 10g butter
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 sheet of shop-bought ready-rolled all butter shortcrust pastry (please don't skimp on the all-butter bit - it is so much better in taste and texture to the stuff made with hydrogenated vegetable fats!) (or even better, make your own - do a Delia!)
- 4 pre-cooked beetroot
- 75g Goat's Cheese (up to you whether it has a rind or the softer, crumblier stuff)
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 150ml double cream
- Sprig Rosemary or Thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 180°C
2. Thickly slice the red onion. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the red onion. Turn down to a low heat and leave to cook for 30 minutes or so until translucent. Remove from the heat and stir through the balsamic vinegar.
3. Unroll the sheet of pastry and line your tart tin, letting 1cm or so of excess pastry hang over the edge. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes (or fridge for 30 minutes). Line the pastry case with foil and fill with baking beans (or rice/beans/scrunched up foil would do if you don't have any). Bake blind for 15 minutes until the base is cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool.
4. In a jug, mix together the cream, eggs and yolk. Season generously with salt and pepper and add the chopped rosemary.
5. Open the packet of beetroot and remove them to a sheet of kitchen roll to drain any excess juices. Halve each beetroot and slice thickly. Slice or crumble the goat's cheese into chunks roughly the size of dice.
6. Place the tart case on a baking tray, and spoon the red onions into it. Arrange the beetroot and goat's cheese on top, and follow with the cream and egg mixture. Sprinkle the chopped pine nuts on top and bake for 20 minutes or until it is cooked through and puffed up but still with a slight wobble.
7. Trim off any excess pastry, carefully remove from the tart tin and serve warm (rather than piping hot).