I love pickled condiments that have a bold tartness balanced against hints of sweetness and heat. So I decided to use a Chinese five spice blend to pickle some golden beets that I will be using in a red rice pilaf for dinner tomorrow evening.
The five spice mixture consists of: Sichuan peppercorns, fennel seed, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon. I did not have any peppercorns so I substituted dried red chili peppers instead. You could also use crushed red pepper flakes. The beets came out really vibrant and flavorful. Be careful not to overcook the beets because you want them to have a slight bite. There's nothing worse than overcooked beets--reminds me of the canned version from my childhood!
4-5 medium golden beets
1 tsp fennel seed
1/4 tsp whole cloves
1 1" cinnamon stick broken into pieces
2 star anise broken into pieces
2 dried red chili peppers, seeds removed and broken into pieces
5 whole black peppercorns
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup light agave syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
- Scrub beets to remove dirt and roots and place in a large five quart pan and cover completely with water. Bring the beets to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and cook just until fork tender. After beets are peeled, dice and set aside.
- While the beets are cooking, prepare the pickling ingredients. In a dry saute pan toast spices until fragrant and set aside.
- In another small pan, bring liquid ingredients to a boil, turn off the heat, add the dried spices and let mixture steep until cooled to room temperature.
- Add your diced beets to a mason jar and cover with pickling liquid.
- Refrigerate for up to 24 hours before using.