Saturday, April 3, 2010

Beet Horseradish...a passover condiment...

Since I was making the gefilte fish anyway, I might as well make the horseradish (vs buying the bottled stuff). I used Joan Nathan's recipe for "Horseradish and Beet Sauce" taken from The Jewish Holiday Kitchen for Passover:

**Horseradish and Beet Sauce**
1 medium horseradish root (1/2 cup)
` 16 oz can of beets, drained
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 T sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar

(1) Peel the horseradish and grate by hand or with a food processor.
(2) Grate the beets, adding them to the horseradish. Combine.
(3) Add salt, pepper, sugar gradually. The strength of the horseradish will vary according to the age and the individual root, so adjust seasoning as needed.
(4) Add the vinegar, enough for the horseradish and beets to absorb.
(5) Store in the fridge with a tight cover. Serve with gefilte fish or boiled beef.
Horseradish is top on my list of UGLY foods. I found a ton at The Market in PC. Plain or Beet Horseradish is traditionally served with gefilte fish during Passover. This is one TOUGH root, so no flimsy knives, okay?! I needed enough for 45 people at our seder, so I just multiplied the recipe above to accommodate all of this root.
First, put on gloves (to prevent spicy hands) and cut off 3-4 inch segments. Then peel, with your extra-strong knife, the uneven dirty skin, cutting from top to bottom careful not to cut yourself (again, tough stuff!). What a completely rewarding feeling when you're all done (and no "accidents"), whew!
Time to GRATE now! So moments earlier, I plotted my brilliant plan of efficiency - grating horseradish WHILE simultaneously getting a challenging (much-needed) workout. I was ambitious (yet, naive) loading up a fast perky playlist (i.e., Beastie Boys, various British punk)... plotting out the manual horseradish grating that would satisfy my craving for a fab workout equal to hours on free weights. I was SO wrong :( The first 10 minutes killed me as my poor arms fully gave out. Wow, all my respect to those who have the strength and stamina to grate horseradish by hand!  
Exhausted, disappointed and weak, I succumbed to the Cuisinart and its grate blade. Fine. So....put in equal size horseradish pieces, about 2-3 inches a piece and pulse a little first, then leave ON until everything is finely grated.
Protect your eyes and DON'T inhale....ooh. 
Now transfer to a container large enough to fit in a can of beets. I usually add the vinegar now, to prevent the teeny bits of stray horseradish from flying around. Mixing later on will be neater now that the horseradish is settled and chunky.
Since Joan Nathan's recipe called for canned beets, I usually use canned beets. I imagine fresh beets will be a cinch to substitute. Make sure you don't get "pickled beets!"
Throw them in the Cuisinart and pulse until minced, not puréed.
Next, mix the beet with the horseradish. Again, careful not to get too close to the toxic container! Sinuses, beware!
Mix it thoroughly. Color is AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL.
Add the salt, pepper and sugar. Mix thoroughly.
Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste. I really don't know what it is SUPPOSED to taste like, so I grab the nearest person around for a tasting. I almost always end up adding more sugar.
Now, we are ready to serve it, plate it!


  1. Dear Lisa:

    I was wondering- - - do you wear a gas mask while grating horseradish.

    And do you know anybody who uses a gas mask to grate horseradish

  2. Well, depending on how fresh/toxic the root is, do it in a well-ventilated room and merely look away and try not to inhale. Gas mask? Sounds like over-kill, but would qualify for fantastic performance art!

  3. it tastes better once graded by hand