Thomasina Miers’ recipe for roast beets in white mole sauce


There is a restaurant in Mexico City called Rosetta, founded by Elena Reygadas, an inspirational chef and mother of two. If that makes me sound as if I have a girl crush, I do! This restaurant is so stunning that I often find myself thinking about it while gazing out of my window, dreaming of Mexico. This white mole (moll-ay) is inspired by one I had there, a warm, plant-based dish that’s stunning to look at, full of goodness and wonderfully simple to make.

Roast beets with mole blanco
The delicately sweet, lightly spiced sauce provides a beautiful base for earthy roast beets.

Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4-6

1 white onion, peeled and cut into wedges
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
100g pine nuts
100g almonds
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and white pepper
2-3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

For the beets
600g beetroot, scrubbed and cut into sixths or eighths
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 sprigs rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
8 radicchio leaves (or other bitter leaf), shredded
1 handful mint leaves
Seeds from ¼ pomegranate

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Line a baking tray with foil, lay the beets, garlic, rosemary and oil on top, and season generously. Toss with your hands until the beets are well coated, add a splash of water to the tray and roast for 35-45 minutes , by which time the beets should be tender, a little gnarly and crisp at the edges.

Meanwhile, dry toast the onions and whole garlic cloves in a frying pan, shaking and turning them frequently, for eight to 10 minutes, until charred all over and tender in the middle.

Put the nuts (reserve about 10g or so of the pine nuts, for decoration) in a blender or food processor, blitz fine, then add 100ml cold water in a steady stream, blitzing until smooth. A good blender will work wonders here. Add the charred onion and garlic, the spices, and a teaspoon of sea salt and pepper to taste, and blitz again for at least 40 seconds. Add the vinegar and 175ml water in a slow stream and continue to blitz until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then put to one side until the beets are cooked.

When you’re ready to eat, warm the mole and spread it in the middle of warmed plates. Top with the roast beetroot and scatter over the radicchio, mint, pomegranate seeds and reserved pine nuts. Drizzle with a little extra oil before serving with crusty bread, flatbreads or corn tortillas.

And for the rest of the week …
This sauce works with lots of different roast roots, so experiment. Grill leftover radicchio and use it in a risotto with a crumbling of creamy blue cheese, or roast with pears for a warm salad.