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The Slow Cook by Justine Schofield

Guest chef Justine Schofield’s slow cook recipes; Beetroot with mint & burnt butter yoghurt and Braised fennel with coriander seeds.

Slow cooking isn’t just for meat casseroles. Whether in an oven or benchtop cooker, it can bring all sorts of vegetables to life. Here, sweet, earthy beetroot is cooked long and low and tossed with dried herbs, nuts and lashings of creamy, tart yoghurt made even better with the addition of burnt butter. Aromatic fennel pairs nicely with the nuttiness of coriander seeds; it’s lovely served as a side with roasted chicken or fish.

The Slow Cook by Justine Schofield
The Slow Cook
by Justine Schofield
Plum, $39.99

Beetroot with mint & burnt butter yoghurt

> 1 bunch of beetroot (about 4-5 bulbs or 1.5 kg), trimmed, half the stalks and leaves reserved
> 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
> 50g butter
> ½ teaspoon dried mint
> Juice of 1 lemon
> Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
> 140g (½ cup) Greek yoghurt
> ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
> 1 garlic clove, chopped
> 3 tablespoons smoked almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 170C (150C fan). Place trimmed beetroot bulbs in a roasting tin. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add 80ml (¹/³ cup) of water. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 1½-2 hours until beetroot is tender when pierced with a sharp knife*. While the beetroot cooks, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it becomes foamy. Continue cooking for a further 1-3 minutes until bubbles subside, the milk solids start to turn golden brown and a wonderful nutty aroma is present. Add dried mint, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Remove foil and let beetroot cool. When cool enough to handle, use your hands to peel off skins. Quarter each beetroot, add 1 tablespoon of melted mint butter, half the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper and gently toss. Whisk remaining melted mint butter into yoghurt and incorporate until smooth and silky. Season with salt.

Wash reserved beetroot stalks and leaves (they hold a lot of sandy grit, so soak and rinse thoroughly) and finely chop, keeping a few smaller leaves to serve. Add the remaining oil to a frying pan and fry cumin seeds and garlic for 1 minute. Stir in chopped stalks and leaves; sauté for 6-8 minutes, tossing regularly, until softened and wilted. Season with salt and pepper; add the rest of the lemon juice. Arrange sautéed stalks and leaves on a platter and top with the beetroot. Scatter on smoked almonds and reserved beetroot leaves, drizzle over burnt butter yoghurt or serve on the side. Serves 4-6

*Slow cooker method: Rub the oil all over beetroot, season with salt and pepper and wrap each bulb in baking paper, then tightly in foil. Place in slow cooker, add 125ml (½ cup) of boiling water. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until beetroot is tender when pierced with a knife.

Braised fennel with coriander seeds

> 2 large (or 4 small) fennel bulbs, stalks removed, fronds reserved
> 25g butter
> 1 tablespoon olive oil
> Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
> 2 garlic cloves, bruised and peeled
> 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
> Juice of ½ lemon
> 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Cut each fennel bulb into six wedges; if small, cut into quarters. Place large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add butter and olive oil. Once butter mixture is foamy, add fennel and cook for 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned.

Season with salt and pepper, add garlic and coriander seeds and cook for a further minute*. Add lemon juice and 125ml (½ cup) of water and cover with lid. Turn heat to low and braise for 25-30 minutes until fennel is just tender. Serve with reserved fennel fronds and parsley scattered over the top. Serves 4

*Slow cooker method: After adding garlic and coriander seeds and cooking for another minute, transfer fennel mixture to slow cooker; add lemon juice and water. Cover; cook on high for 2½-3 hours or on low for 6 hours, or until fennel is tender.

This article appeared in the Autumn 2021 edition of Life Begins At… Click here to read or here to subscribe and never miss an issue!

“The use of this work has been licensed by Copyright Agency except as permitted by the Copyright Act, you must not re-use this work without the permission of the copyright owner or Copyright Agency”
Photography: Rob Palmer

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Life Begins At

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