When I grow beetroot I tend to pack them together when sowing. This means that not only can I thin them to leave just the best ones behind, but I also have a crop of beetroot leaves long before the beetroot is ready. If you use them like you would spinach then they can make a pretty tasty edition to any meal.
This is one of my favorite lazy meals
Beetroot leaf pancakes
For the batter
Half a pint of milk
200g of flour
1 beaten egg
Oil for frying
For the filling
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
200g of any hard cheese
Enough beetroot leaves to fill a pair of pants (off about 15 plants should do it)
Oil for frying
I tend to make the batter by adding flour to half a pint of milk and a beaten egg in a mixing bowl, then I slowly pour in the flour until the mixture is gloopy. If you need measurements it is about 200g of flour. I use whatever flour is around (self raising or plain). If you want lighter pancakes use a quarter of a pint of milk and a quarter of a pint of sparkling water or even lager.
Leave this batter to one side then chop the onion into teeth sized chunks. Fry on a medium heat until they start to brown, and now put the oven on a low heat to warm up.
Put on another frying pan and heat up some oil ready for the pancakes. Add the garlic to the onions, turn the heat down if the garlic starts to brown too quickly. Now start your first pancake and when it is done stick it in the oven between two plates. Keep making your pancakes and keep them warm in the oven until the filling has done.
Put the leaves into the onion pan and stir about a bit. When this reduces you need to add the cheese. When the cheese is all melted you are done.
Beetroot Leaf Ramekins
If you want to impress this is well worth a go; it looks pretty impresive served up and just giving it a go is pretty impressive; either way if you are cooking for a potential mate serve this up with 3 bottles of wine and you will be well in. (well the wine might help more)
225g of beetroot leaves steamed for 5 mins and drained
A couple of gratings of fresh nutmeg (or the powdered stuff if you don’t have any)
1 egg yolk
2 table spoons of breadcrumbs
1 table spoon of natural yogurt
1 table spoon of parmesan cheese
A bunch of smaller beetroot (or spinach) leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the ingredients together apart from the smaller beetroot leaves. Now lightly grease 2 cocette dishes or ramekins and coat the insides with the smaller leaves. They should cover the whole inside of each dish. If like me you are not posh enough to have cocette dishes or ramekin (or even know what they are) then improvise with any small bowl no bigger than about 10cm in diameter. Stick the dishes into a roasting tin and put this in the oven. Now pour hot water into the tin. Make sure the water comes to about half way up the bowls.
Bake in the oven for about 35 mins on gas mark 4, 180 c or 350 f.
Serve with a packet of cheap cigars and 3 euro coin.