The Great Beetroot Massacre

by Sam Bilton on September 16, 2013 No comments

There is a suspicious looking pool of liquid slowly congealing on the worktop. It also spatters the juicer and my hands are stained with the tell tale magenta hue. Inside the juicer are the remains of several beetroot which have been pulped to oblivion their sacrificial juice destined (I hope) for greater things.

Unfortunately, beetroot is not very popular with the younger members of the Bilton household. When it appears in our weekly veg box I feel impelled to find some innovative way of disguising it, which given its vivid colour is pretty difficult. Despite being boys they don’t seem to object to it’s feminine shade as much as the taste. So rather than fighting nature I thought I would maximise this roots vibrancy and take my inspiration from something I haven’t eaten for years.

In the late ’80’s I lived in El Paso as an exchange student. I used to go to a restaurant in Ciudad Juarez (which was no where near a dangerous as it is now) called Chihuahua Charlie’s. It was a funky place in which colourful parasols dangled from the ceiling and a rather rotund Mexican called General Tequila used to parade around the dining room proffering shots of this famous liquor. Before your meal you would be given a basket of bread rolls. But these were no ordinary rolls. They were light, fluffy and contained a hidden treasure. Inside these warm rolls was a pocket of creamy cheese. Chihuahua Charlie’s gave me an early introduction to Mexican food but it’s these rolls that have stuck in my memory.

So this is my latest beetroot innovation and a homage to those rolls. Enjoy!

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Beetroot and goat’s cheese rolls

I expect you could use pre-prepared beetroot juice for this recipe although I haven’t tried it myself.

Ingredients

  • 700g fresh beetroot, juiced (this will yield around 300ml – make up to 380ml with water)
  • 600g strong white flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 150g soft, rindless goat’s cheese

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients, except the goat’s cheese, in a food mixer with a dough hook attached. Mix on a low speed until combined (about 3 or 4 minutes). At this point I like to remove the dough and knead it by hand for a further 5 – 10 minutes. You will end up with purple hands and if you have a light coloured worktop (or wooden) I would recommend doing this on a silicone pastry mat like this one from Lakeland. Leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size (around 1½ – 2 hours).
  2. Knock back the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Divide the goat’s cheese into 12 spoonfuls as well.  Take a piece of dough and shape it into a ball. Flatten this ball slightly with the palm of your hand then place a teaspoonful of goat’s cheese in the centre. Pull the surrounding dough up and over the cheese so that it completely encased in the roll. Repeat with the remaining dough placing each roll on a greased or silicone lined baking sheet, well spaced apart.
  3. Leave to rice again for a further 30 minutes or so while you pre-heat the oven to 200℃. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes. These are delicious eaten warm or cold.

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Sam BiltonThe Great Beetroot Massacre

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