I’m not translating this one into Turkish because in fact, despite the Turkish-sounding ingredients, it’s an Observer recipe from Nigel Slater, veteran English food writer. It comes from the Observer Food Monthly which I happened to read when I was delayed at Gatwick one recent Sunday.
But of course the reason I tried it was because of the beetroot leaves! I went to the market the very next day after my return, you see, where I saw the most irresistible freshly-picked beetroots you could ever imagine! The leaves and long red stalks were intact and looked way too good just to cut off and dump.
The Turkish cook is a thrifty cook and would not be happy discarding perfectly good yemek potential. Leaves like this would most likely be made into a börek or indeed cooked gently with a couple of eggs cracked into them.
Elsewhere, it seems to me that beetroot is going through something of a revival: it’s definitely being given the thumbs up in terms of all the beetroot hummus recipes I’m seeing, not to mention beetroot brownies (which really don’t appeal).
This recipe is basically a stir fry and will gladden the heart of any vegetarian you have in the family:wonderful ingredients such as chickpeas, lemon and mint combined with seasonal potatoes and carrots! For Nigel Slater,the focus is actually not the beetroot leaves and stems but the potato; for me, it’s definitely the beetroot.
As with any stir fry, the cooking’s easy, it’s the chopping that takes the time.
- Pour the olive oil into a wide shallow-sided pan, add the potatoes and let them cook over a medium heat. Add the carrots and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the vegetables are approaching tenderness.
- Tip the drained chickpeas into the pan and let them warm through for 10 minutes.
- Stir the beetroot stems into the pan and finally fold in the sliced beetroot leaves.
- Squeeze in the juice of the lemon, and add the mint leaves.
- Stir and serve!
NB check the seasoning very carefully: it makes a difference!