Gingered Beets

Here's a delicious side dish that's sure to impress your Thanksgiving diners.




Gingered Beets

Serves 8

Serving a variety of vegetables at Thanksgiving can be a challenge. It's just tough keeping them warm until serving time. Vegetables prepared in the oven and kept in a covered bowl can go from the oven to the table and still be warm after the turkey has been carved.

This recipe is from "Cooking in the Shaker Spirt," written by James Haller and Jeffrey Paige. Both had worked at Shaker Village in Canterbury and learned much about seasonal cooking and simple but tasty recipes from the last remaining Shakers.

How to prepare the beets

2 pounds beets, washed

1 cup apple juice concentrate or two cups of apple juice cooked down to 1 cup

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Slice the beets about a 1/4-inch thick and place in a baking dish. Combine the apple juice concentrate, honey or maple syrup, ginger, cornstarch and vinegar in a blender and mix for 30 seconds. Pour the sauce over the beets, cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until tender. Serve.

Tips for peeling and mincing ginger

Use the back of a paring knife (small utility knife for peeling vegetables) versus a vegetable peeler. Simply scrape the back of the knife (not the blade) across the fresh ginger root. The peel will come right off and leave the flesh of the ginger root perfectly intact.

To mince, use the back of a French knife (large kitchen knife) right where the metal meets the handle. This is the thickest part of the back of the knife. Use this part of the knife to chop/mash the peeled ginger. It will instantly mince the peeled ginger.

Fresh beets are a winter crop and can be found at local winter farmers markets. The Shakers had their own gardens to harvest and within an hour after picking they were ready for the table.

About "Cooking in the Shaker Spirit"

Chef and author James Haller had the privilege to know the Shaker sisters, to have spent time in their surroundings, to have seen a piece of their world intact and to have walked on the same floors as so many generations of Shakers.

Haller worked with Jeffrey Paige, who later opened the much-heralded Cotton in Manchester. Paige worked out the measurements for the recipes as the ideas poured out of Haller's head.

With a copyright of 2006, this book is still a classic for simple cooking with fresh local ingredients. It is available on Amazon.com.

"Cooking in the Shaker Spirit"
Smith/Kerr and Associates
Soft cover, 204 pages, $17.95

More Recipes

Sides/Appetizers

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup from Liz Barbour's Creative Feast
Curry gives this soup depth.

Baked Onion and Apple Cider Soup With Smoked Cheddar Cheese Gratine from Chef Jeff Paige of Cotton
A great use for fresh apple cider. We suggest using the smoked cheddar from the Sandwich Creamery.

Cider-Braised Red Onions and Carrots from Farnum Hill Ciders
Hard cider can be substituted for beer and wine in many recipes. You can find Farnum Hill Ciders - made here in New Hampshire - in most liquor stores.

Cranberry and Walnut Baked Brie with Cinnamon Herb Crostini
Creamy, warm Brie with fall flair.

Maple Glazed Shrimp and Butternut Squash from Chef Justin Lyonnaise
Some will remember Chef Lyonnaise from the wonderful but sadly closed Commercial Street Fishery in Manchester. He shared this delicious appetizer recipe back in 2008.

Main Dish

Chicken Roasted in Cider from Helen Brody's "New Hampshire: From Farm to Kitchen"
Another use for hard cider. You can try Farnum Hill Cider, Crooked Tree Cider in Whitefield (603) 837-9174 or Silver Mountain Ciders.

Roasted Turkey Breast With Herb Butter and Raspberry Cranberry Sauce from Liz Barbour's Creative Feast
Turkey is kicked up several notches with this recipe.

Boggy Meadow Mac and Cheese by Chef Michael Buckley
Chef Buckley uses a fabulous local Boggy Meadow cheese to make this quintessential cold weather comfort food.

Acorn Squash Risotto With Tart Cherries and Ricotta Salata by Chef Luca Paris
A delicious, comforting fall dish that looks as nice as it tastes.

Desserts

Hurricane Sauce from Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill

A great way to use fallen apples - a perfect topper for pancakes and waffles.

Batter Dropped Cider Donuts
Fast and easy cider donuts to satisfy your craving.

Pecan Turtle Bread Pudding from chef Ashley Schaefer of the Round About Diner
This would make a fantastic alternative to pie if you're looking for something different to close out your Thanksgiving meal.

Vermont Apple Pie from Gesine Bullock-Prado's cookbook "Pie it Forward."
It might be called Vermont Apple Pie, but we think you should use New Hampshire apples.

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