Puréed Beets with Yogurt & Za'atar

Puréed Beets with Yogurt & Za\'atar
2 lbs red beets
about 1 pound after cooking and peeling
2 cloves garlic
1 small red chile
seeded and finely chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt
or substitute full fat coconut milk
1 1/2 date paste
soak 2 pitted dates in 2 T. hot water for 10 minutes. mash into a paste with a fork.
3 T. olive oil
plus extra to finish dish
1 T. za'atar
available at Middle Eastern grocery store or spice shop
2 each green onion
thinly sliced
2 T. hazelnuts
toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup soft goat milk cheese
This is a beautiful and delicious dish! Beets are used throughout many cultures especially in Jerusalem and the Middle East.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the beets and place in a roasting pan. Put them in the oven and cook, uncovered, until a knife slides easily into the center, about 1 hour. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut each one into about 6 pieces. Allow to cool down.
Place the beets, garlic, chile, and yogurt in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the date paste, olive oil, za'atar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Transfer the mixture to a flat serving plate and use the back of a spoon to spread it around the plate. Scatter the green onions, hazelnuts, and goat cheese on top and finally drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
Serve at room temperature.
source: "Jerusalem" a Cookbook by SamiTamimi