I’m not a beet lover. In fact, I can barely get them down without gagging. It pains me to admit that, but I have tried them over and over and over. Waiting for more of my tastebuds to die as I age. Maybe by the time I’m 70 I will be able to abide by their barfy, sweet, earthy wrongness.
Have I offended anyone yet?
I just know how I feel when people say bad stuff about kale. I always think to myself: they just haven’t had it cooked the right way...
Well I have tried beets ten ways to Sunday. Yuk, yuk, and more yuk. My family loves them, though, so I grow them in the garden every year. And while they eat the beets, I eat the beet greens. Those, I DO love.
So it is with GREAT pleasure that I introduce the ubiquitous beet chip. –For no one can deny their crispy-salty-spicy goodness, not even me.
I have to cook these sliced at all different thicknesses — from see-through, paper thin to 1/8″ thick. They all taste good. But there does seem to be a perfect thickness that cooks and crisps the best. I have learned the hard way to go light on the olive oil and salt. These beets shrink by 50 – 75% of their original size and all of the stuff you put on them concentrates down quite a bit.
I slice them with a mandoline. You could use a knife? (But then you would be a masochist.) Go buy a cheap mandolin and thank me in the comments. You will use it for literally everything.
So here is where I have to swallow my last sentence. I have two mandolins. One is the cheap version (but I love it and use it the most often). The other is the Rolls Royce. I, personally, would never have bought the Bron ($150) for myself. Dave gave it to me as a gift. For breaking my jaw and being pregnant all at the same time. Sound fun? Well it wasn’t. Let me know if you interested in hearing that story!
Anyway. I love the quick, light, simplicity of the Borner V slicer ($38 on Amazon). It has a thick and thin option, as well as two sizes of julienne. I used the thin setting for the first couple batches of beet chips. But its thin wasn’t quite thin enough to make things easy for me. Oh, yes, you can use it. Yes. Yes. Yes. But if you have the option of slicing them slightly thinner, go that route because they cook faster and stay crispier. So, I defaulted to the Bron.
So here’s the deal:
WHATever you can do, it will be fine. Even if your chips are’t crispy, they will taste amazing.
Preheat your oven to 250 for thicker chips, 225 for thinner chips. I use convection, but honest to goodness I can’t tell a difference. I really can’t.
Put a THIN film of olive oil on a baking sheet and spread it all out even with your hand (refrain from licking your hand). Lay the beet slices down close together. When my slices are uneven, and go from thicker to thinner, I even overlap them a bit. you do so many flips during baking it won’t make a difference. You will be astounded by the amount they shrink. It’s like bacon — maybe even more! (the photo below does not show them overlapping)
Then, sprinkle the beets with salt and pepper. Don’t go mental. Just a nice, even amount. I like them spicy, so I use as much pepper as salt.
Put them in the oven and set the timer for about 30 minutes. Then flip them. Then do that over and over until the thinnest parts start to darken and almost get over done. If your oven is like mine, there are hotter parts. I turn my baking sheets and pull the chips out one by one as they get done.
After you try this once you’ll get the hang of it. You pull them out when they are still bendy. As they cool they crisp up. If, after they are cooled off they aren’t crisp enough for your taste, put them back in. Putsy, but not rocket science. Pour some wine. Pour some more. It’s all good.
I hope you love them. I hope you love me.