Comfort food – chicken and beetroot in white sauce

30 May
CDC beets

CDC beets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my top comfort dishes from childhood sounds unlikely, but it’s scrumptious, and rather pretty.


1 chicken

several raw beetroot (beets, in US)

white sauce



Simmer the chicken in water until the meat almost falls off the bone, and you have a good chicken stock as well.

Cook the rice (when I was a kid, it was white long-grain, but I now prefer brown basmati) as per packet instructions.

Cook the beetroot – boil it (scrubbed but skin on) or roast it (peeled and coated in olive oil and herbs). This takes the longest (over an hour), especially boiling. Put the beetroot on at the same time as the chicken.

Make the white sauce (what the French call Sauce anglaise): oil or butter in a small pan, with enough flour to soak up the oil/butter. Cook gently over a low heat for two or three minutes till the oily flour mix bubbles and looks like a honeycomb. Add milk and whisk to blend it with the flour and butter. Keep adding milk as the sauce thickens, until you get to the consistency of double cream. Season with a bit of salt, black pepper, perhaps a few chopped herbs eg basil and thyme. Keep stirring and if you get lumps, whisk in the pan till smooth. If the sauce is ready before anything else, you can turn the heat off and leave it till it’s all ready to serve.

Once the chicken, beetroot and rice are done (all very forgiving if your timing is a bit out of sync), take chunks off the chicken (carving is a bit redundant as it’s so eager to part with the bone), put on a bed of rice with a serving of beetroot, drizzle white sauce in an artistic fashion (or, as I call it, a blanket), and eat. Green salad makes it look even prettier.

Not low-carb or low-anything much, but the beetroot’s fabulously good for you, and it’s a meal that leaves you comforted and cheered.

The chicken stock is brilliant for soups and sauces for several days. The juice from boiling the beetroot is full of minerals, so drink it, or add it to veg soup. Don’t waste it!


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