PICKLED BEETS (for six)
6 to 8 medium beets
1 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons commercial or home made mixed pickling spices
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400*.
2. Trim the beets, leaving 1 inch of the stems attached, and scrub them well. Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil (three or more to a packet) and roast (on a jelly roll pan or baking sheet) in the middle of the oven until tender, about 1-1/2 hours. (The cooking time will vary according to the size of the beets – you want them tender all the way through when you pierce them with a small, sharp knife). Unwrap the beets carefully (steam will escape) and let them stand until they are cool enough to handle. Peel them under running water. Cool the beets, then slice or quarter them and place them in a nonreactive bowl.
3. Combine the vinegar, salt, garlic, sugar and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer for 2 or 3 minutes and pour over the beets. Cool and chill.
NOTE: The pickled beets may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
adapted from Craig Claiborne, The New York Times Cookbook