In the UK, January is a great month for an abundance of delicious root vegetables; jewels that have been pulled from the cold winter earth. Beetroot is just one of them and boasts many culinary uses beyond a winter salad: curries, soups, and – surprisingly – cakes. Its natural sweetness and earthiness brings new depths and character, which was discovered during war rationing when sugar was at a shortage.
This easy recipe for beetroot brownies takes the earthiness of this January root vegetable and matches in character with dark, rich chocolate, rendering a pleasantly more-ish treat. Paired with lemongrass and ginger herbal tea, it’ll warm your mid-winter right up.
Serves: 15 | Time: 1hr
- 500g whole raw beetroot
- (3-4 medium beets)
- 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for the tin
- 200g bar plain chocolate (70% cocoa)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 100g plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
Wear a pair of rubber gloves to stop your hands from staining, then top, tail and peel the beetroot – you’ll need about 400g flesh. Roughly chop and put into a large bowl. Add a splash of water, cover with cling film, then microwave on High for 12 mins or until tender.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. While the beetroot cooks, butter then line a 20 x 30cm traybake or small roasting tin. Roughly chop the chocolate and cut the butter into cubes. Tip the cooked beetroot into a sieve, drain off any excess liquid, then put into a food processor or blender with the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Whizz until the mix is as smooth as you can get it. The chocolate and butter will melt as you do this.
Put the sugar and eggs into a large bowl, then beat using an electric hand whisk until thick, pale and foamy, about 2 mins. Spoon the beetroot mix into the bowl, then use a large metal spoon to fold it into the whisked eggs. Try to conserve as much air in the mixture as you can. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder, then gently fold these in to make a smooth batter.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 25 mins or until risen all over. Cool completely in the tin, then cut into squares.
Recipe from Jane Hornby, BBC Good Food
Lemongrass & Ginger Herbal Tea Pairing
Made with real lengths of the highest quality lemongrass and pieces of ginger, this tea renders a clear but warming and spicy infusion. Ideal for any time of the day – especially colder ones – pairing perfectly alongside this month’s seasonal beetroot, matching the earthy character of this beautiful January vegetable.