Beets au gratin

We enjoyed this one a lot! We had it with some white fish and a salad, but it would make a perfectly reasonable vegetarian main course. Once the beets are cooked, it assembles quite quickly and it really doesn’t take too long to bake either.
I used 3 lovely Cylindra beets for this. I don’t know why they aren’t more popular. They are such a convenient size and shape for cooking, and they taste great and stay tender too. But you can use whatever beets you can get, of course. This would have been a good job for the mandoline but after last time, I just sliced the beets up by hand and saved myself a clean-up job. Besides, my thumbnail is still recovering.
Goat cheese would be good instead of the feta cheese, but in that case I would add a bit of salt to the cheese-yogurt mixture. 

4 to 6 servings1 hour to pre-cook beets1 hour – 20 minutes prep time

Beets au gratin
500 grams (3 large or 4 medium; 1 pound plus) beets1 medium red onion125 grams (4 ounces) feta cheesefreshly ground black pepper to tastea few scrapes of nutmeg1 teaspoon rubbed savory OR thyme1 1/2 cups thick yogurt1 tablespoon unsalted butter3 tablespoons coarse bread crumbs3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the beets until tender; either by boiling or baking whole for 45 minutes to an hour, or in a pressure cooker, on a rack, with 1 cup water for 25 minutes. This can be done up to a day in advance; at any rate they must be done sufficiently in advance to cool enough to handle. 
Peel the beets and slice them very thinly and evenly. Peel the onion, cut it in half (for stability), and slice it thinly. Chop the slices. 
Mash the feta cheese in a small mixing bowl, then add the yogurt, nutmeg, and savory or thyme. Mix in the yogurt. 
Oil a 1.5 quart (litre) shallow baking pan (8″ x 10″). Arrange 1/3 of the beet slices evenly over the bottom of the pan. Arrange 1/2 of the onion slices evenly over the beets. Dollop half the feta-yogurt mixture on, and spread it around evenly. Top with another layer of half the remaining beets, then the remaining onions and feta-yogurt mixture, and finish with the last of the beets. 
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the butter, bread crumbs, and Parmesan with your fingers to make a moist, crumbly mixture, and spread it evenly over the casserole. Bake for 40 minutes and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

Last year at this time I made Brussels Sprouts Purée.

* Originally published here

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