At this time of year, with the vegetables growing in the garden, the beet leaves are ready to use in this wonderful traditional treat.
Bread rolls wrapped in beet-leaves are a delectable traditional treat. In the old days, we used to call them beet leaf holubtsi. But more recently they have come to be known as beetniks. (Not to be confused with those long-haired guys from the 60s that used to hang out in dingy bars and read poetry!)
Beetniks are quite easy to make, especially if you use frozen bread dough or make the dough in your breadmaker. Serve beetniks warm with salted sweet or sour cream mixed with finely chopped onion and fresh dill. Yum!
For beetniks you will need:
2 lbs bread dough – enough for two loaves or a package of 24 frozen yeast buns.
3 dozen beet leaves, medium to large
½ cup melted butter
Salt to taste
Generously butter a large casserole dish or a medium size roaster. Wash beet leaves and trim any tough stems. Soften the leaves by putting the leaves in a pan of boiling water… just swish them for a few seconds through the water, and lay them on a towel to dry.
Take a piece of dough the size of a walnut, roll into a ball and wrap it loosely in a beet leaf, like you would a cabbage roll.
Arrange the rolls in layers. Brush each layer with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.
Fill the roaster to half full only, as they need room to rise. Top with a layer of leaves, brush with melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350ºF oven for one hour. Makes about 2 dozen.
Here’s a little tip if you’re using frozen buns or bread dough. Make sure to wrap it in the leaves while it is still cold and before it starts to rise.