As shocking as it may seem, in the not too distant past I was a beet hater! It’s true, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I once did not see the virtue of their earthy, lightly sweet magical flavor. Having roasted baby beets over a creamy celery root puree at a Christmas party last year really helped to start turning things around, though, and I’ve been experimenting with the delicious little jewels ever since. My favorite varieties are chioga (candy cane) and golden beets. They are a little lighter in flavor than red beets and lend themselves to simple preparations that highlight their naturally complex flavors. For the golden beets below, I simply peeled and chopped them into inch-wide chunks. Then I tossed them with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, herbs de province (OK, I need to look into some other spices), chili flakes, salt and pepper. I placed them on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated 375 degree oven, and I baked for about an hour. After about 45 minutes or so, I start checking every once in a while by poking them with a fork, until I get them to the right consistency (still firm, but cooked through enough to easily sink your teeth into).
Since these guys are so earthy tasting, I would recommend an earthy wine, maybe a Paso Robles Pinot Noir for something a little fruitier or a Côte du Rhône for something a little hardier. Otherwise, you might play off of their sweetness and slight bit of acid and try a wine with a little residual sugar like a lightly sweet Riesling from Germany.