Barbeetcue Sauce?

This is a weird one.

But if you’re a fan of pickled beets, you’ll love it. And even if you think you’re not a fan of pickled beets, you might love it, too.

Sweet and cinnamon-y, it’s a natural when spread on toasts—or even a bagel—over a schmear of creamy cheese. The rice vinegar’s tang also makes this peach-yellow purée a great complement to grilled chicken or pork (over the week, we had it with both).

Use it as a benedictory BBQ sauce, basting the meat right after it comes off the heat—or stripe the plate with a spoonful and serve the meat on top.

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That’s gotta be a personal record: one plate, nine CSA items (golden beets, new potatoes, red onions, garlic shapes, parsley, sweet corn, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, orange carrots). Whew.
Roasted Golden Beet Butter

Adapted only slightly from Hugh Acheson’s terrific, swatch-style book, Pick a Pickle: 50 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, and Fermented Snacks.  

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  • 1/2 lb golden beets (about 4 small beets), trimmed of their greens
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 400º.

Lightly scrub the beets and pat them dry. Drizzle the olive oil over the beets, add a sprinkle of salt, and roll them up tight in aluminum foil. Place the foil packet on a sheet pan. Roast 30-40 minutes, until a paring knife or long-tined fork slides in and out easily.

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When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off.

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Dice the cooked beets, and return them to the empty saucepan along with the water, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, bay leaves, and salt. Over medium heat, cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently. It looks soupy at the start, but much of the liquid will cook off.

Remove the bay leaves, then transfer the hot mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the pat of butter, and purée until very smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasoning (I did add pinch more cinnamon at this point).

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Pour into a clean jar. Cap loosely and allow to cool before you fasten the lid completely and refrigerate. Use within a week. I found the flavor best when served at room temperature—or, at least, not straight out of the fridge.

Still sounds weird to you, doesn’t it? It really is like a zippy apple butter made with beets—and it comes together in about one-fifth the time. Give it a shot. Or leave your next golden beets in the swapbox for me, please.

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