Root-to-Leaf Beet Burgers
Tied House, Chicago
There are countless varieties of beets, each with a particular flavor. Every part of the beet is edible from the root, to the stem, to the leaf. In these vibrant veggie burgers, Beard Award-winning chef Debbie Gold incorporates all three elements for maximum taste and minimal waste. Leftover pickled beet stems are also delicious on hamburgers, with charcuterie plates, and anywhere else you would use pickles.
Pickled Beet Stems:
- Stems from 1 bunch beets
- 1 quart water
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup (5%) white vinegar
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 large beets, any color, stems reserved for pickling (see above)
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- Pepper to taste
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted
- Roasted beets
- Pickled beet stems
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Fresh beet greens
Make the pickled beet stems: trim any bruised or discolored parts from the stems. Cut the stems into 2-inch pieces and place into a clean glass jar.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Pour the pickling liquid over the beet stems. Let the mixture cool and then place the lid on top. Shake the jar and refrigerate the stems for at least 24 hours.
Make the roasted beets: scrub the beets well to remove any dirt and trim off the leafy greens close to the top of the beet, leaving about a half inch of stem. Remove the stems from the greens and reserve both. Wash the greens and spin or pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Tear 2 large sheets of aluminum foil. Place 1 beet on each sheet of foil. To each foil package, add 1 sprig of thyme, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Wrap the beets loosely in the foil. Place the wrapped beets on a baking sheet. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, checking for doneness every 20 minutes or so. Roast until the beets are tender. You’ll know when the beets are done when a paring knife easily slides into the center of the beet.
Let the beets cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, hold one of the beets in a paper towel and rub the skin away. The skin should peel away easily. Discard the thyme and foil packages. Slice the beets into 3/4-inch rounds and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Build your burgers: place at least 2 slices of roasted beets on the toasted bun bottoms. Top each burger with 1/4 cup pickled beet stems, 1/4 of the sliced avocado, 1 ounce goat cheese, 1 to 2 leaves beet greens, and the toasted bun top. Serve immediately.
From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.