I think Gloria Estefan would forgive me for the word play on her song title – especially if she tasted the pickled spiced beets from The Village Whiskey – Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Philadelphia restaurant.
The Village Whiskey beets are what inspired my purchase of 10 pounds of red beets at the Lancaster Central Market on Friday. Philadelphia is a little far to drive for an appetizer, so I have to learn to make them on my own. I hope Jose Garces will forgive my twist on his recipe.
The Village Whiskey makes their pickled spiced beets with baby red and golden beets, but I made mine with oven-roasted, full-grown red beets since I am still waiting for a late planting of beets in my garden to yield results. Sadly, the rabbits had their way with the beets Jeff planted in the spring.
I roasted my 10 pounds of beets after washing them and wrapping them in foil. They cooked in a 350 degree oven for approximately 90 minutes (they were big beets). I let them cool, peeled them and cut them into bite-sized pieces. While I was peeling and cutting the beets, a pickling solution was simmering on the stove. Now I don’t know what The Village Whiskey puts in their recipe – that is for them to share or not; but I put some allspice, cinnamon, mustard seeds, thinly sliced onion, thyme, bay leaves, orange zest and orange juice along with some water and different types of vinegars.
After the beets were prepped, I poured the pickling liquid over them and now they are just swimming in the liquid getting happy, subtly spiced, and “pickley.” Tomorrow I will can them so that I can enjoy them for months to come. When I serve them, I will likely want the toasted baguette and whipped ricotta that is served at the restaurant with all their pickle selections.
Whether or not you want to try to make pickled, spiced beets on your own; I would HIGHLY recommend a trip to The Village Whiskey if you are in Philadelphia. The restaurant is small and they do not take reservations, so Jeff and I try to arrive between lunch and dinner. Not only are the beets amazing, so are the pickled herb cherry tomatoes and the french fries cooked in duck fat – especially when they are topped with delectable short ribs and cheddar cheese. And if you are keeping up with the latest burger fad, do yourself a favor and do not pass up the Village Burger. It is served on a buttery, light and flaky sesame bun with lettuce, tomato and house-made thousand island dressing. I add the caramelized onions and one of the terrific cheese selections. This is the kind of burger you wake up hungry for!
The Village Whiskey
118 South 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103