Roasted Beets with Sauteed Greens on Polenta

Jane Wilt Whitworth


6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups corn grits
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces gruyere cheese, finely shredded

Beets and greens:

2 bunches of beets with greens
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic, chopped
Fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To finish:

Unsalted butter
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2-3 ounces prosciutto, shredded or chopped fine


Bring the six cups of water to a boil. Add salt. Gradually stir in the corn grits. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently enough to keep grits from sticking to pan. The grits will thicken fairly quickly but continue to cook and stir until very thick, about 30 minutes (don’t skimp on time or polenta will be too soft to hold together to sauté). Remove from heat. Stir in butter and shredded gruyere until melted and well incorporated. In a well oiled 9 X 4 pan, pack the polenta tightly and let cool. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Beets and greens:

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with nonstick foil. Set aside.
    Scrub beets and thinly peel. Chop into one- or two-bite chunks. In a bowl, toss the beets with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Spread onto prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes, and then shake beets around in pan. Bake another 20 minutes. If beets aren’t fork tender, gather the ends of the foil loosely together over the beets and bake another 10 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork.
    While the beets are roasting, wash the beet greens in at least two changes of water, until all sand and grit is removed. Cut off stems, cut into two-inch lengths and set aside. Drain greens thoroughly, then coarsely shred.
    In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and chopped garlic over medium heat. Add stems and stir fry them for three to four minutes, until they begin to soften. Add greens and continue to stir fry another three to four minutes, until tender. Set aside and keep hot. Right before serving, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the greens and stems.
    Melt one tablespoon unsalted butter in skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook and stir until crispy.

To serve:

    Remove polenta from pan. Slice about ½ inch thick, then cut slice into two wedges. In a nonstick skillet with unsalted butter, fry the polenta slices until hot through and browned on both sides, turning once and sprinkling with salt and pepper.
    Place browned polenta wedges on serving plate. Spoon on greens and add beets. Top with crispy prosciutto.  Serve.
    4-6 servings