Serves 6, from the Lunds and Byerly’s fall 2008 edition of “Real Food” (their free magazine)

“How considerate of the beet to provide two vegetables in one: edible leaves and a bulbous root. Balsamic vinegar gets reduced by half to become a ruby syrup to glaze the beets. Vibrant bits of mint tie all the flavors together. This dish can be made in advance and gently reheated or served at room temperature.”

4 large beets, about 2 pounds, with beet tops attached
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 medium clove garlic
1 small bunch mint

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove the stems and leafy greens from the beets and set them aside. Peel beets* and wrap in a very large piece of foil. Crimp edges tightly together to form a package. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 1.5 hours. When tender, a knife will penetrate beets easily. Open the package carefully and cut beets in half lengthwise and then across into 1/4-inch wide slices. Put in a large bowl and keep warm.

Meanwhile, put vinegar in a small saucepan. Add 1 clove garlic, pushed through a press. Bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes until reduced to 3 tablespoons.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut stems and leaves into 1-inch pieces and add to boiling water. Cook 5 minutes until tender. Drain well, squeezing extra water from beets. Add hot greens to warm beets and toss with olive oil. Add reduced vinegar and 1/3 cup coarsely chopped mint. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*from Chris: I haven’t made this recipe, but I wonder why one couldn’t boil the beets instead and skip the peeling & the 1.5 hours of baking in the homemade foil container? To boil the beets, cut stems off about an inch above the root, wash off the dirt, and throw it whole (with skin) into the boiling water. Boil until tender (fork goes in easy). Then, drain water and once the beets are cool enough to touch, you can easily rub the skins off. I cut them in a bowl to contain the staining juice: first cut in half, then spear with a fork and use the tines of the fork as a cutting guide to cut into slices. Then continue recipe as above…