Where did the last month go? If your life is anything like mine, it's vanished in a heart beat. During that month in my part of the world daffodils have burst into life, blossom is appearing on the trees, and spring lambs are bounding around countrywide. My overcoat wearing has almost become a thing of the past, and I'm guessing that it will only be another couple of weeks before I can say goodbye to winter boots for another 8 months. Yes, spring is definitely on the way.
In an entirely different part of the world, the owner and writer of the Enriching Your Kid blog has been completely oblivious to the fact that I've spent quite a bit of time poking around through her recipes in this last month. You see, it's Secret Recipe Club time of the month and this was the blog assigned to me. It was my mission to choose a recipe, make it in secret and post it along with everyone else in the Club on one glorious reveal day.
As its title might suggest, this blog is all about producing recipes which will fortify your kids with dishes that will strengthen their immune systems and stimulate growth. As such, you will find plenty of recipes here for interesting baby foods and school lunches.
Of course, there's plenty of other good, nutritious stuff, but since I don't have children, I thought I might have a bit of trouble finding a dish here that I would want to make. Wrong ... in fact I found almost immediately the dish I wanted to make - Beetroot Cutlets.
Now, if you live in my part of the world, when you hear the term beetroot cutlets, you might by thinking "what the heck"? You see, down here, a cutlet is usually a piece of meat attached to a long bone - such as a lamb chop.
But I knew immediately what the nature of this was going to be. When I was a kid, one of my favourite dinners was my grandmother's "potato cutlets". These were spicy, minced meat (usually left over curried lamb), encased in mashed potato, and then crumbed and fried until crispy. So I knew that here a cutlet was going to be some kind of rissole or croquette.
These beetroot cutlets are "spiced" up with a bit of ginger, garlic and curry powder (the original recipe called for garam masala, but I was all out of it), and I coated them with some panko breadcrumbs for a bit of crunch.
To finish things off, I served them on top of a spinach, lentil and goat cheese salad, with some spicy, caramelised walnuts, and topped them off with a dollop of raita (a combination of cucumber, yoghurt and mint).
This made a wonderful vegetarian meal. The cutlets had a great combination of taste and texture; and the salad was the perfect accompaniment, the earthiness of the spinach and lentils with the tangy, salty goat cheese providing a great contrast to the sweetness of the beetroot. The crowning glory is easily the spicy, caramelised walnuts.
I know when you look at this recipe you might think there's a lot of ingredients and steps. But, honestly, most of these ingredients are things you will likely have on hand already, and most of the steps involved here can be done well in advance - even the day before if you wanted. This is a great dish for turning very simple, humble ingredients into a meal that looks and tastes really special. Even the meat-eater around here declared that he'd pay good money for this dish in a restaurant. I hope you'll give it a try.
Spinach, Goat Cheese & Beetroot Stacks with Spicy, Caramelised Walnuts Recipe
Inspired by recipe from Enriching Your Kid
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
For beetroot cutlets:
2x medium sized beetroot, peeled and grated
1x small leek, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced
1x clove garlic, minced
2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2x medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
freshly ground black pepper
flaky sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
generous handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
sunflower oil for frying
For spinach, lentil & goat cheese salad:
1 cup brown lentils
4x generous handfuls of spinach, or mesclun salad leaves
150g goat cheese crumbled
juice of 1/2 lemon
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
For spicy, caramelised walnuts:
1x generous handful of walnuts
1 teaspoon curry powder
5 teaspoons sugar
1/2 telegraph cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and finely diced
flaky sea salt
3/4 cup Greek style natural yoghurt
dried mint to taste
Begin by making the cutlets. Heat a small amount of sunflower oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Add the sliced leek to the pan, along with a generous sprinkling of sea salt. Saute for a couple of minutes before adding the ginger and garlic. As soon as the leek is softened (but not browned) and everything is fragrant, remove from heat. Tip into a medium sized bowl.
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and cool slightly before mashing.
Add the mashed potato to the leeks, along with the grated beetroot, curry powder, lemon juice and coriander. Taste and add flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to your liking.
Use your hands to shape the mixture into patties, approximately 2cm (3/4 inch) thick. Coat them in panko breadcrumbs, and refrigerate for at least half an hour to firm up. You could even do this the day before if desired.
To make the raita, place diced cucumber in a small bowl, and sprinkle generously with flaky sea salt. Set aside for an hour or so, then drain off the liquid that has been drawn out of the cucumber. Add yoghurt, mix well, and add dried mint (or fresh if you are lucky enough to have it in season) to taste.
To make the salad, cook the lentils, place them in a medium sized pot, with plenty of cold water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender. Drain and place in a medium sized bowl. While lentils are still hot, add lemon juice, a generous drizzle of olive oil and season to taste with flaky sea salt and black pepper. Set aside to cool to room temperature. This is another stage that can be completed well in advance. Once cooled, toss with spinach or salad leaves and crumbled goat cheese.
For spicy, caramelised walnuts, drizzle a small amount of sunflower oil into a shallow pan over medium heat. Add the walnuts to the pan, and add the curry powder. Toss the nuts until they are well coated and allow them to toast for a moment or two. Add the sugar to the pan, and stir constantly until the sugar is bubbling and the nuts are thoroughly coated in the spicy, sugary mixture. Remove and allow to cool. Again this could be done in advance.
Pour a generous amount of sunflower oil into a shallow pan over medium heat. Add beetroot cutlets to the pan, and fry until crispy and golden all over.
To serve, place a generous amount of salad on a plate, and sprinkle a few of the spicy, caramelised walnuts around. Stack the beetroot cutlets on top, and drizzle over a little of the raita.
Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, and visit the links below to check out all the other great dishes my Secret Recipe Club friends made.