Braised Shallots, Onions and Red Beets with Fennel

braised beets and corn(bread)!

How much do beets rock? Not only are they tasty in a number of ways, from roasted to fried to boiled, but you can eat the entire plant, from root to stem to leaf.

So perusing the farmer’s market this week, I nabbed a massive bunch of tender spring beets, not much bigger than radishes, with luscious greens still attached. Grocery stores don’t always leave the stalks on beets, which drives me nuts because they’re nutritious and edible (the stalks, not the grocery stores.)

Anyhoo, if you happen to have whole beets and some onions or shallots, here’s a simple, quick way to cook them up. I had both onions and shallots on hand that desperately needed to be eaten, so I used ’em both, but do whatever you like. Chopped green onions would be good too.

This would be a great side dish, though I just ate them for a light lunch with cornbread. (Yes, I have cast iron corn molds to make cornbread in. Life rocks.)

Shallots, Onions and Red Beets with Fennel

1/2 onion and 1 or 2 medium shallots

5 or 6 small beets with stalks and leaves attached

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (bonus points if you dice up the fresh stuff)

2 or 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat up some oil in a skillet, dice up your onions/shallots and chuck ’em in. While they sweat a bit, thinly slice your beets and add them to the skillet. Stir the whole mess around, and don’t be afraid to add another glug of oil to get your beet slices to fry properly. Sprinkle in some fennel seeds. Chop up the beet stalks, reserving the greens, and add the stalks to the skillet. Pour in some rice vinegar and cover the skillet. When the onions and beets are tender, chop up your greens and top them off. Splash in some rice vinegar on top, stir the whole mess around a bit, and keep a lid on the skillet another couple minutes, until greens are wilted. Serve with feta or Parmesan crumbled on top, if you like.

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