Thanksgiving Recipe: Beet Chutney

There are a lot of stresses that come with planning a Thanksgiving menu.  But one thing I have learned, having hosted such feasts for the past three years, is that preparing items in advance is a lifesaver.  Soups, sides, and desserts can all be made ahead and packed in the fridge or tossed in the freezer.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Eric and I love throwing dinner parties.  So it seemed logical to start doing a Thanksgiving dinner every year where we could gather our friends together and enjoy a nice meal (as well as copious amounts of wine) the weekend before the actual day.  The first year, it was a bit of a mess.  I woke up at six in the morning the day of the event, threw on an apron, and cooked up to, and even after, the guests had arrived. (This may be the reason why the whole evening is a blur to me.  Or that could be the result of something else.)
After that, I knew something had to change.  And now that we’ve had a few of these, I think I’ve gotten the hang of it.  In preparation for the event, I begin by brainstorming recipe ideas.  Once I’ve come up with the general menu, I then think about which items can be made (or, at the very least, started) a few days ahead.
The first items I made were the pumpkin-swirl brownies I posted earlier this week, which are now sitting safely in the freezer.  A bit more time consuming than some of the other dishes I plan to make, it felt like a huge accomplishment to get them out of the way.
Next up was this delightful beet chutney, which, as noted at the end of the recipe, can be made up to a week in advance.
I’m a huge fan of this recipe, not just because of it’s simplicity, but because it has incredible depth and pairs wonderfully with both meat and vegetarian options.  This is more of a relish, than a chutney… but, really, neither accurately describes how truly delicious it is.
Plus, you can make it today for next week!  How great is that?
Beet Chutney
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1 3/4 cups chopped red onion 
1 2-inch-diameter beet, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes 
1/2 cup water 
1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
3 tablespoon raisins 
3 tablespoons sugar 
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger 
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds 
Pinch of cumin seeds 
Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped red onion and beet cubes. Cook until onion is tender but not brown, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water. Increase heat to high and boil until mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, raisins, sugar, ginger, mustard seeds, and pinch of cumin seeds. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beet cubes are tender and chutney is thick, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.
  • November 19, 2010 - 5:12 am

    Anh - That chutney sounds awesome! I love anything with beets!ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 12:04 pm

    Joanne - I absolutely love chutney and made a cranberry chutney last year that I ate instead of jelly on peanut butter sandwiches. Oh yeah. It was good. I'm honestly not the biggest fan of beets but I have a feeling that this recipe could definitely skew my opinion!ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 12:45 pm

    SMITH BITES - Love beets, love chutneys, love the color and love that it can be made ahead – GREAT JOB!!ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 1:01 pm

    Chef Dennis - Brian- your beet chutney is such a wonderful idea! What a great way to showcase the much maligned beet, and definitley a new way to serve them! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful creation!
    Have a happy weekend my friend!

  • November 19, 2010 - 1:46 pm

    Angie's Recipes - What beautiful looking beet chutney!


  • November 19, 2010 - 2:04 pm

    Ken│hungryrabbit - You and Eric are having too much fun 'entertaining'. Beet chutney looks incredible. With all this prep work, you can just breeze through TG w/o letting go of your wine glass. ;-pReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 2:28 pm

    foodwanderings - Bri, You know I am crazed about chutneys and beets too! A great conbination!! ShulieReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 3:26 pm

    kat - I love beets so bring this on!ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 3:33 pm

    Fun and Fearless in Beantown - This beet chutney brings some lovely color to the Thanksgiving table.ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 3:39 pm

    JacquelineC - I love this idea of a beet chutney. Love beets and nice to have a veg option to the mix. Great with any kind of roast, I'd imagine. Thanks !ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 4:07 pm

    Elle - Gorgeous color–I do love beets!ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 5:19 pm

    saltyseattle - superb make-ahead, baby. love it.

    also, wanted to tell you that i think you are a very special person. xoxo, lindaReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 6:55 pm

    Trish - I've never considered adding beets to a chutney. Great idea. Beautiful colors & I can imagine great flavor. Perfect this time of year.ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 7:05 pm

    Elisabeth - What a beatutiful beet chutney. I would proudly display this at my Thanksgiving table along with the fresh cranberry sauce that is a must have, every year.
    Beautiful prsentation, and photos as well!ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 8:53 pm

    pickyeaterblog - What a great idea! I've never thought of making chutney from beets – this seems like a fun alternative to the traditional cranberry sauce we always have on Thanksgiving :) Btw – it was great meeting you at FoodBuzz – I love your photography and recipes on your blog! Please do stay in touch – I look forward to reading your future posts!ReplyCancel

  • November 19, 2010 - 11:02 pm

    Cathy @ ShowFoodChef - Loving this idea and the colors are so welcome against all the orange and yellows and browns. Thx, and nice post!ReplyCancel

  • November 20, 2010 - 12:27 am

    FOODalogue - Beet chutney is the new red on the Thanksgiving table.ReplyCancel

  • November 20, 2010 - 1:52 am

    riceandwheat - Perfect timing – I've been getting flooded with beets from our vegetable subscription and just about running of ideas on what to do with them. I can't wait to try this chutney! :)ReplyCancel

  • November 20, 2010 - 3:38 am

    Monet - I love the color in this dish. I'm sure it tastes delicious, but the bright hue is sure to add so much vibrancy to your Thanksgiving table. I know that your guests will have a delightful time at your Thanksgiving feast. I wish I could be one of them. I hope you and your sweetheart have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!ReplyCancel

  • November 20, 2010 - 11:06 am

    Anna Johnston - I'd love to try out this recipe Brian, beet chutney sounds wonderful, such a great colour too, it'd brighten up a meal for sure.ReplyCancel

  • November 20, 2010 - 5:21 pm

    Megan - I like beets! 😉 I bet this amazing.ReplyCancel

  • November 22, 2010 - 2:34 am

    Cake Duchess - I adore beets. This looks like a delicious idea:) I hope you two have a wonderful Thanksgiving:)ReplyCancel

  • November 22, 2010 - 3:19 am

    Sharon S - I can't wait to try this new twist on beets.ReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2010 - 11:38 am

    Jackie - Mhm, yum! I love beetroot – it's so delicious. And the colours! Wow!

    Oh Brian, you've got me so hungry and it's only 11.30am… I'm not sure what's going on for Thanksgiving this year! I might be meeting a friend downtown for a drink instead of stuffing my face with turkey… each to their own traditions, eh? 😉

    Jax xReplyCancel

  • November 23, 2010 - 6:47 pm

    Andrew Frishman - Mmmmmnnnmmmnnn! . . . I lOVES me some chutney! (especially when it's beefy!)

    ¿Dónde está la carne?ReplyCancel

  • January 21, 2011 - 9:39 pm

    Dawn - I have saved this recipe. It looks wonderful! I am looking for ideas of how to use the beets I got with my CSA.ReplyCancel

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