In my last post I talked about harvesting and processing beet greens. Today I would like to share how we like to eat them at our home.
You can prepare beet greens exactly as you would spinach, which is about what it tastes like too. My mother use to gently boil spinach in a tiny bit of water, then drain it and we would season it with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar; yum. Beet greens taste just as wonderful when prepared this way.
My favorite way however is to slowly sauté a small diced up onion in a bit of good olive oil. I like to let the onion simmer for at least a half hour (without letting it turn brown), then I add a small amount of diced up bacon and continue to let it simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Once the bacon is cooked and a bit crispy I mix in my beet greens and heat everything though. I then take it off of the heat, cover it with a lid and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Just before serving, I throw in a small handful of crushed walnuts. You can salt and pepper this if you would like, but I never feel the need to do so.
This past week however, I wanted to utilize all the beet green cooling water that I had saved after processing the greens last week. So I made chicken soup. Here is one way that I like to make it.
Put the chicken in a pot and cover it with the beet green broth. Heat to a boiling, then turn down the heat and let the chicken simmer for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take the chicken out of the pot and allow it to cool on a cutting board. While you are waiting, you can strain the broth through some cheese cloth to remove any scum that has collected on the surface of the broth. You can try to scoop this off, but straining works much better.
Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, de-bone it and cut the meat into small pieces. Put the diced chicken back into the broth and return to a low heat.
Add one handful of wild rice…
and once small diced up onion.
I like to add carrots to every soup/stew that I make, during this time of year I use carrots fresh from my garden. I like to use the tops and the bottoms.
Many people are under the impression that you cannot eat carrot tops, but you can. You don’t want to put large amount into your culinary creations because they can get bitter, but you can eat them and they taste good in many recipes. I like to dice up all my carrot greens and add a good sized pinch to my soup. The rest gets laid out on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and placed in the freezer until it is completely frozen. I then bag the carrot tops and save them for use throughout the winter.
Of course I also use the carrots themselves in the soup.
The final vegetable contribution to my chicken soup is the beet greens themselves. I use 1/2 of one 8 oz package, (just break the frozen hunk in half).
I like to let my soup simmer uncovered for about 1 hour then I turn off the heat, cover the pot of soup and let it sit until meal time. If you let it sit for a few hours until it is completely cooled, you may want to add more beet green (or other type of) broth to thin the soup down a bit, as it will thicken the longer it sits.
Season with salt and pepper to accommodate your own personal taste.
We like to eat this soup with homemade parmesan pepper bread. It is the perfect combination especially on a cool autumn day.
When my urban homestead was fully operational, I was able to provide my own fresh chicken, onions, carrots, potatoes (instead of rice), and beet greens. It was a wonderful feeling to have raised everything that was simmering in my pot. Hopefully the growing season of 2019 will see me fit enough to get back to farming full-force. Fingers crossed!