Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Mangelwurzel. What a weird word. I had never seen it before meeting this odd veggie. I bought this great big log of a beet on April 14th at the Arcata co-op for $2.49. The description on the card had this picture and said this:

"Mangel Beets

From Wild Rose Farm, Blue Lake CA
These huge beets run between15 and 25lb, and at
$2.49/each, they provide about the most sustenance
for your dollar you’ll find anywhere! Mangel beets
(or more properly Mangelwurzel) come from Germany,
and were developed to feed livestock during the long
winters. They make great eating and are delicious in any
of your favorite beet recipes. They are also used in England
for sport – Mangelwurzel hurling competitions are an
annual occurrence in some small towns!"

OK. These things are the size of Presto logs, are pig and cow food and people fling them for fun. Plus, they are only $2.49. Not per pound, mind you--for the whole beet! How could I resist?? I chose the smallest of the three available--still huge, mind you--and paid for it. I got my beet log home and commenced to look up recipes on the internet. (where I found the facsimile of the store card--neato!). Well, there aren't a lot of recipes for mangelwurzel--just seed ads and livestock information. I guess bossy the cow food that gets flung about doesn't sound so appealing to most other people. Someone suggested boiling them, but I prefer my normal beets roasted, so I ran with that thought. I trussed my Beetlog up in foil and tossed it into the oven:

I wrapped it in foil and roasted it at 400 degrees F. for 4 hours. This is a picture of what it looked like post-roasting, plus a cross section.

The next day I peeled it and cut it into chunks, which I used to make a salad as follows:

Mangel Beet Salad

Mangel beet cut into 1.5 inch chunks, about 2 cups
2 dozen oil cured black olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 an orange, peel and pith cut away, cut into sections
2 cups mixed spring greens
4 green onions chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small bunch of chives chopped
cheese for garnish (grated parmesan or some other good quality firm cheese)

for the dressing, I used my avocado orange vinaigrette (i.e., I actually made this recipe up--yay, me!). This uses an avocado that is super ripe, but not dead--very very soft. Cut out any brown spots. Good for that forgotten avocado you don't want to waste.

Avocado dressing:
1/2 really ripe, super soft avocado
juice of 1/2 an orange
1 generous tsp. dijon mustard
1/4-1/3 cup really good virgin extra olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

mix salt with orange juice to dissolve. Add mustard and mix well. Scoop out avocado and mash then mix into juice. I use a latte whisk and mix the bejeezus out everything. Add olive oil and pepper and use the whisk to emulsify a bit. You could do this in a mini cuisinart, if you were so inclined.

Pour dressing over salad, toss, serve topped with grated cheese.

Pretty colors!
It was tasty stuff. The mangels tasted good--sweet, and rather like a cross between a beet and a yam. Would I cook with them again? Yes. This is good, because I have half of one left in the fridge.

For more info on mangelwurzel, wikipedia has the goods: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangelwurzel

I leave you now with an extreme closeup of Gabriel, who has made it to age 25 (He hatched in April 1984, and I randomly designated 4/15--tax day--as his birthday. What a tough old bird, he is!!

No comments: