The future of restaurants' vegetarian offerings is bright and healthy, even in a town famous for pork, seafood, barbecue…you get the message. Charleston, South Carolina's Blossom serves elevated Lowcountry cuisine with an emphasis on local vegetables, and their hearty golden beet, pecan and mushroom meatballs with tomato sauce won't disappoint. We peeked into the kitchen to borrow Executive Chef Adam Close's recipe. Serve these with parsnip purée (below) or over your favorite pasta.
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled
- 1/4 pound butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 roma tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 golden beets, cooked and grated (see below)
- 1 3/4 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1 yellow onion, small dice
- 3 stalks celery, small dice
- 2 carrots, small dice
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablepoon garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 whole eggs
For the parsnip purée:
- Bring 1 quart of water to a boil on the stove in a large saucepot, add parsnips and boil until parsnips are well cooked and fall apart easily (about 30 minutes)
- Strain and reserve cooking liquid for the tomato broth, then add hot parsnips, butter and cream to a blender and blend on high until smooth, adding some additional cooking liquid if needed until desired consistency is reached.
- Season with salt and pepper and set aside until ready to serve.
For the tomato broth:
- Slice tomatoes in half and toss with olive oil and chopped garlic in a mixing bowl.
- Place in a small baking dish and roast in a 350°F oven until soft but not mushy.
- Rough chop and set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine the cooked chopped tomatoes and 2 cups of the reserved parsnip cooking liquid.
- Reduce down until it thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the meatballs:
- Begin by roasting the beets. Preheat oven to 350°F and rinse the outside of the beets to remove any dirt or debris that may be on them.
- Place them in a small baking dish with a little water on the bottom and cover with foil— the water will prevent the beets from scorching.
- Roast in the oven for about 1 hour, or until a fork inserted can be removed easily.
- Remove beets from dish and place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Once cooled, use a dish rag or strong paper towel and “wipe” the skin on the outside of the beets. It will come off easily.
- Grate the skinned beets on a fine cheese grater and reserve until later.
- Spread out cooked rice on a cookie sheet or large plate and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onions, celery and carrots for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 4 minutes or so.
- Season liberally with salt and black pepper and then add the cooled shredded beets and toss to combine.
- Allow this mixture to cool to room temperature as well by spreading on a cookie sheet or large plate.
- Once everything has cooled, combine all ingredients excluding the eggs in a large mixing bowl and check seasonings, then add eggs.
- Roll mixture into 2-ounce balls and place in a dish close together, flattening the bottom a little so they do not roll around.
- Roast at 350°F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Serve the meatballs over the parsnip purée with a little parsnip and tomato broth on top.
Find more vegetarian beet recipes on Food Republic: