Recipe of the Month: Red-Breasted Boiled Beets

The recipe of the month is taken from COOKED BOOKS, a cookbook featuring recipes from the staff of Princeton University Press. Enjoy!

Red-Breasted Boiled Beets

Sam Elworthy

Identification: Key identification features are two large red mounds protruding from white gunk. Subspecies Parsilia features spots of green on top. Juveniles are smaller. Geriatrics are larger and tougher.

Range: Long assumed extinct after last confirmed sighting in its native New Zealand in 1954, but recently there have been unconfirmed reports of Red-Breasted Boiled Beets in Lambertville, New Jersey (note — last confirmed sighting preceded Elworthy’s departure for New Zealand to act as director of Auckland University Press).

Behavior: White gunk and red breasts occasionally merge into pink mush on arrival at table. Red boiling liquid has been known to produce startling red stains on floors, clothes, and faces, etc.

8 medium-sized beets
parsley, for garnish

1 stick of butter (½ cup)
4 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk

Boil beets until you can poke a fork in them—around 45 minutes. Drain beets, run them under cold water, and use a knife to take off skin and trim the ends.

Melt butter on medium heat, add flour, and mix; add salt, and then add milk slowly, while stirring vigorously. Sauce should be thick but not solid—add more milk if too thick, weep if too thin, and proceed anyway.

Put 2 beets on each plate. Pour white sauce on top. Garnish with parsley.


Serves 4 people.