Last week I had two lovely guests come to do a cookery course with me through Airbnb experiences. I offer a Market tour followed by making the traditional German dish of Maultaschen, German style filled Pasta, but with a more modern interpretation, or should I say, with a slight Hannah twist! My guests were super excited to learn a recipe that used not only the Beetroot, but also the Stems and Leaves. They just so happened to be talking about that very aspect the day before as they had a lot of success in growing Beetroots this year but didn’t know what to do with the Leaves. So here’s another suggestion in using Beets from top to tail!
The Falafel recipe makes about 50 pieces which is more than you’ll need for 4 people but they keep well, so put the rest in the fridge and reheat the next day to serve with a Salad or Roasted Vegetables.
2 Bunches of Beetroot, still with their Stems and Leaves
For the Falafel
260 g Beetroot, peeled weight
250 g dried Chickpeas, soaked overnight in Water
1 Small Red Onion
1 Garlic Clove
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tsp Coriander Seeds
3/4 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
2 Tsp Nigella Seeds
1 Bunch Coriander, just the leaves
1/2 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley
2 Tbsp Chickpea Flour
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
750 ml – 1 L Sunflower Oil
For the Chutney
225 g Stems from Beetroot
1 Small Red Onion
1 Garlic Clove
1 cm Piece Ginger
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Bunch Coriander, just the Stems
For the Sautéed Greens
400 g Beet Greens
1 small Onion
1 small Garlic Clove
Salt and Pepper
Start by draining your soaked Chickpeas and leave them to drain. Next prepare your two bunches of Beets. Remove the Leaves from the Stems, wash, drain and put to one side. Remove the Stems from the Beets, wash, drain and finely chop. Put to one side. Depending on the size of the Beets, peel one or two so that you have a total weight of 260 g, then coarsely grate and put to one side. You’ll have more Beets than you’ll need, but they keep very well, so put them in the fridge and use at a later date.
To make the Chutney, peel and finely chop the Onion, Garlic and Ginger. Put the Sugar into a small saucepan along with a splash of Water and over a medium to high heat turn the Sugar into a Caramel. The Water allows the Sugar to melt more evenly. Once the Sugar has turned to a golden brown colour add in the Onion and mix well. Allow to sauté for a few minutes until the juices from the Onion are released and the Onion starts to turn translucent. Add the Garlic, Ginger and finely chopped Beet stems. Mix well and then add the Vinegar. Allow to cook over a low to medium heat for about 20 – 30 minutes. The Stems should turn soft and it will become sticky in consistency. Be careful that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Finely chop the stems of the Coriander and mix in to the Chutney once all the liquid has cooked down. Add a good pinch of Salt, and if it’s too sweet and a small splash of Vinegar. Allow to cool.
To make the Falafel, peel the Onion and Garlic and then add along with the drained Chickpeas to a mixer and blend until they are coarsely ground. You may need to do this in two batches depending on how big your mixer is. Add the ground Chickpeas to a bowl. In frying pan dry roast the Coriander, Cumin and Fennel Seeds until the start to give off a wonderful aroma, then grind in a pestle and mortar. Finely chop the Coriander and Parsley leaves. Add the ground Spices, chopped Herbs, Nigella Seeds, Salt, Eggs, Chickpea Flour, and grated Beetroot to the ground Chickpeas and mix well together. Season with Black Pepper. In a medium saucepan heat a litre of Sunflower Oil. Be careful that you don’t over heat it. If you have a thermometer then heat the Oil to about 150 °C. For those who don’t have a thermometer, once you feel like the Oil is hot, put a little bit of the mixture in to see if it bubbles away. If so, the Oil is ready. If nothing happens, the Oil is not hot enough. If the mixture turns instantly black, the Oil is far to hot, so take it off the heat and allow it to cool, before trying again. Once the Oil is ready, take a teaspoon of mixture and using a second teaspoon press the mixture together into an oval shape and then place the Falafel in the Oil carefully. Alternatively you could use a small ice cream scoop just make sure the mixture is firmly pressed into the form before placing into the Oil. Repeat until the saucepan is full. About 10 pieces. Allow to fry for about 4 – 5 minutes. You may need to turn the heat up when all the Falafels go in, as the Oil will drop in temperature, but then after a minute or so reduce the heat again, once it has got back up to temperature. The Falafel should be slightly golden in colour and firm to touch when they are ready. Allow them to drain on a Kitchen towel, and put the second batch in. The mixture makes about 50 pieces so you’ll need to do it in about 5 batches. Once you get near to the end of the mixture there will be quite a bit of liquid so i find it best to drain the last lot in a sieve before making the last batch. It’s important that the mixture isn’t too wet when putting it into the Oil. You can keep the Falafels warm in the oven, before serving, or reheat them later.
For the Beet Greens peel and finely chop the Onion and Garlic. In a large frying pan add a couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil and gently heat. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the Garlic and then the Greens turning up the heat. The Greens should be cooked quickly over a high heat, stir regularly so that it doesn’t burn. Season with Salt, Nutmeg and Black Pepper. As soon as the Greens have wilted, check for seasoning and drizzle a little more Olive Oil on top. Serve immediately with Beetroot Falafel, Beetroot and Coriander Stem Chutney and Tahini Yogurt – Recipe Below!
To add a little contrast I served the dish with Tahini Yogurt and marinated Chickpeas.
Mix 1 Tbsp Tahini with 4 Tbsp Natural Yoghurt, add a good pinch of Salt, a pinch of Cardamom, and in case you have a bottle of Rosewater hanging around in the back of your cupboards, add a little splash of that in to the mix. Mix well together.
For the marinated Chickpeas add about 175 g cooked Chickpeas to a bowl, add 1 1/2 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 1/2 Tsp Salt, 3/4 Tsp ground Cumin, a good splash of Olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and Chili flakes if you like! They are also great to keep in the fridge to add to Salads!
So have fun! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and if you’d like to, as of this week you can now follow me on Instagram…..