Blue Cheese Beets and Carrot Rice
This summer has been an unusual one for us – I think the trip to Boston really kind of threw our schedules a little out of whack and we’re still trying to kind of play catch-up. Normally when the weather is nice, I can get Mr. Man to grill a couple of times a month at least, but I think he’s barely fired up the grill twice this last six months. It’s getting to the point where I might just have to pull on some “Man Boots” and go figger out this grillin thingamajig for myself. (but thats a seperate issue). Last week, after only a little bit of whining, I got Mr. Man to do a big-big grill session. I had about a million things I wanted to grill, mostly because it had been so durned hot lately that I didn’t want to use the oven – and he was a sport and spent about 8 hours grilling. (Well – to be fair, it was more like roasting – so it wasn’t like he had to babysit it the whole time…)
I suppose you’re wondering where I’m going with all of this… Well, in addition to corn on the cob, and lamb spareribs (which are another post), I had him grill-roast some beets and carrots, for later use. They ended up getting a lovely smoky flavor, and when it came time to use them, I really wanted to let them be the stars of the dish. So I used them in this rice dish with some other flavors that I feel really complimented them well. Especially the blue cheese. The next time I make this, I will definitely use more blue cheese. I had picked up a lovely block of Point Reyes Blue Cheese a while back, and I was down to the last little bit. If I’d had more, I’da used it.
If you don’t have Blue Cheese though, I imagine Feta would probably be nice in here – or really any other sharp or pungeant, cheese – I’m sure there are lots of choices. But you would want something that can stand up to the strong flavor and sweetness of the beets and not be overwhelmed. I ended up having a lot of flavors going on in this dish – and while I really liked it (and surprisingly – Miss – Ewwww Beets – Thing didn’t hate it). She’s actually been a lot better lately about trying new things – I even got her to eat a couple of figs yesterday when we had a light dinner of fresh figs, cheese, and bread. She had loaded up on Cupcakes at her team practice because one of her teammates had a birthday – which I was really un-thrilled about, but there really wasn’t anything I could do about it after the fact except give scathing glares.
When I started mixing everything together, the beets dyed everything the lovely magenta color, which is why my brown rice looks like a nice shade of magenta – which I thought really made it look cooooooool. There really isn’t enough vibrant PINK food. I think if our next kid is a girl, and she’s half as girly as Miss Thing was when she was little – I will have no problems getting her to eat beets. Sadly, I didn’t offer beets to Miss Thing when she was small so she can often be a little uppity about them now. I probably should have – but to be honest, I’m not like a huge Beet Fan either. I mean, they are okay – I like them well enough. But before we started getting the FFTY box, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve made beets. Actually – I can count with one finger. lol! I had a rather failed attempt at making beets many moons ago in the before-csa time. I think I will definitely have to explore that whole blue-cheese and beets combo again though – it might make a believer outta me.
Anyways, on to the actual prep-talk. I recommend cooking up the beets and carrots in a background process a few days-to-a-week before hand, since the beets in particular take for-freaking-ever to cook. If you don’t want to grill them, you can roast them in the oven (I’ve extolled the virtues of roasted carrots before here, and grilled carrots are very similar – just with added smoky goodness). In fact, this dish could easily be made in to a weeknight easy-peasy meal, simply by cooking up the rice beforehand as well. And for you veggies lovers out there, make it vegetarian by swapping out the chicken stock for veggie and skipping the bacon.
- 3 Beets
- 1 lbs Carrots
- 1 small onion; diced
- 1 cup Long Grain Brown Rice
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 strips of thick cut bacon; cut in to thin ribbons
- 2 tbs Blue Cheese; crumbled
- 1 tbs Butter
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Ginger
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 cup Pecans; chopped (optional)
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Several Hours, or days before Grill the Beets and Carrots. (To grill, coat them in olive oil and sprinkle liberally with Kosher Salt – cook over indirect heat until tender – alternatively can roast in 350° oven)
- In a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid, bring the chicken stock, butter and a generous pinch or two of kosher salt to a boil
- Add the Brown Rice, cover and reduce heat to low
- Peel the Beets and cut in to 1″ x 1/4″ slices.
- Cut the carrots in to 1/4″ discs
- In a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp
- Add the onions and saute until onions are translucent and slightly golden
- When the rice has finished cooking, stir in the cinnamon, ginger and paprika until well combined
- Add the sliced beets, carrots, bacon, onions.
- Top with Blue Cheese and Chopped Pecans, if desired