Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fire-Roasted Beet Timbale with Wild Rice

This is perfect, even if you don't like beets. You can substitute butternut squash for the beets and have an equally delicious dish. (Or be crazy and do the beets and squash together -- it looks a bit like a traffic light but more festive.) This timbale is the perfect meal because it is easy enough to make on a weeknight, satisfying, and impressive enough to serve to company.

Beets are often paired with goat cheese, and I love the combination. Gary prefers feta. Both cheeses work well with the roast vegetables. Make it vegan by eliminating the cheese and lightly dressing the timbale with your favorite vinaigrette.

Preparation and assembly are a snap.There's some cooking time involved, but you are free to go and do other things. The beets can be prepared a day ahead and reheated or served cold, but I like them best when they are hot off the grill. They can also be roasted in the oven for about the same amount of time at 350F.

The following quantities are per timbale
1 med beet (about 2 1/2" across)
1 cup prepared wild rice
1/4 cup goat cheese or feta cheese
2 teaspoons pistachios, shelled and very coarsely chopped
handful of arugula or watercress

  • Heat up the grill. When coals are hot, push all the coals to one side.
  • Wash and trim beets. You can grill them peeled or with skins on. They caramelize more when peeled and the sugars can rise to the surface. They are milder roasted with skins on.
  • Wrap in a sealed foil packet. 
  • Place on grill away from coals. Cover, making sure to leave the vents open.  Check back in 45 minutes to an hour. Turn the package over and wait another 30 - 40 minutes. Check by carefully unwrapping a small bit of the foil packet and inserting a knife into the beet. Beets should not be too soft, but they should not be crunchy, either. You'll know.
  • Prepare wild rice according to package directions. Change it up and substitute your favorite quinoa recipe for the rice.
  • Assemble:  
    • Set a 3 inch round tube mold on a serving plate. Press in 1 cup rice or quinoa.
    • Spread cheese on top of grain.
    • Sprinkle on about 2/3 of the nuts.
    • Top with chopped roasted beets or butternut squash.
    • Garnish with remaining nuts and arugula.

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