Braised Beets with Arugula and Ricotta Salata in a Slow Cooker

I love beets, but heating up the oven in the summer to roast them doesn’t make me happy. Braising them in a slow cooker is shear genius. Thanks Brigit!

Reprinted with permission from Williams-Sonoma The New Slow Cooker.

Photograph by Kate Sears

; recipe by Brigit Binns. Copyright 2010 by Weldon Owen, Inc. and Williams-Sonoma Inc.

Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds (1.5 kg) orange, yellow or red beets, peeled and sliced 1/3 inch (9 mm) thick
4 cups (4 oz/125 g) baby arugula
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) Orange Vinaigrette (see below)
1 1/4 pounds (125 g) ricotta salata cheese

Makes six servings.

In a slow cooker, stir together the orange zest and juice, vinegar, thyme sprigs, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and several grinds of pepper. Add the beets and stir to coat them with the liquid. Cover and cook on the low setting for four hours, stirring once or twice, if possible, to redistribute the liquid. The beets should be tender, but not falling apart.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beets to a serving platter. Discard the braising liquid. In a bowl, combine the arugula and shallot and toss with enough vinaigrette to coat lightly. Arrange the arugula over the beets. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the ricotta salata over the top. Serve at once.

Orange Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk in the oil until emulsified.

Makes about 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml).

“The New Slow Cooker” is currently available in Williams-Sonoma stores and online at www.williams-sonoma.com.

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