Red Hazeret - A Horseradish & Red Beets Relish

Biblical stories and heroes and heroines' tales from mythology trigger young kids' healthy imaginations and nightmares alike. Maybe worrisome little kids with an overactive imagination, such as I was. I still am. When I read Russian literature, I felt the heroine's agony and yearnings. When we went over the Egyptians' afflictions every year in class, around Passover, I worried about rain of frogs and locust. My shoulders cringed, sitting still in the small, wooden chair in class, my jaw tense. I kept my mouth tightly shut though I had much to voice. I wriggled as a contortionist to shimmy away the itchiness at the thought of lice. Ten plagues, oh the possibilities of plights to be distraught about, even though I am an Israelite. I was the protagonist in my very own tragic post biblical drama.
Majority of my years growing up I went to a secular school. The teachers were true educators. They gave us, so to speak, the creationism vs. evolution point of views. We always had healthy debates and discussions and the teachers usually didn't, speaking of afflictions, inflict their own beliefs and opinions on us. Sometimes they did, especially in Literature class, but never in Bible Studies hour. Still, the ten plagues, whether by hand of g-d or simply a course of nature, were all too real. The what-ifs were vivid daydreaming and nightmare episodes.
No wonder then, to add insult to injury, I love Hazeret so much. A horseradish relish, typically made on Passover, to remind us of the bitterness and hardship of the Israelites' lives in Egypt. The pleasure I take in relishing this condiment even when all my senses, if only for a few seconds, numb, and I feel like a dragon, or Mount Vesuvius, moments before it erupts and explodes in all his or hers fiery wrath. Simultaneously, the heightened fumigation sensation is so cleansing and rejuvenating. It's spring.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the story of Passover, you can read about it here. When I was seeking out fresh horseradish recipes on Twitter, Facebook and Food Wanderings FB page it was educational. Not only did my Facebook friend Patti gave me her Horseradish with Beets Relish recipe but I also learned through her that Christians of Polish or Eastern European decent make it for Easter. Who would have thought?! I thought it was a super curious tid bit.
I can't believe it was the first year I made a horseradish relish from scratch. Trust me I won't ever go back to buying the ready made jars. It is so poignant and fresh. Beware though, the fumes can be overwhelmingly tear jerking while you prep it. I labored a bit, grating it, but you can process it all in the food processor. I cooked the beets about 20-30 minutes to an al dente consistency. I dislike raw beets. I find that the cooking, or roasting, if that's your method of choice, draws out the sugars in the beets. I saw recipes calling for balsamic or other fancy vinegars. They alter the flavor and take away from the purity of the horseradish, but if you are prepared to take the risk, by all means take a leap. I used plain ole' vinegar.
In all honesty I would probably be happiest just mixing the grated horseradish and beets, nothing more. That explains the 'touch of' in the ingredients list below. If you wish, you can follow Patti's recipe above or the one I saw on Leite's Culinaria's site.

I wish you all who celebrate a Happy and plight-less Passover and Easter, too. Let your imaginations run with happy thoughts! Happy spring to you all!

Horseradish and Red Beets Relish

1 lb horseradish root, peeled and cut up to small pieces
1/2 lb red beets (4 small), peeled
A touch of salt
A touch of sugar
A touch of vinegar

Cover the beets 1-2 inches above the tops with water, bring to a boil and reduce to a low medium bubble, for about 20-30 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and let cool. While beets are cooking process the horseradish in a food processor. Scoop into a large bowl. Half or quarter the beets and add to the food processor. Whiz until a desired consistency is reached. Add to the horseradish. Add sugar, salt and vinegar according to taste.

Process in a food processor to a desired consistency. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or can to prolong shelf life.

Cook's note:
1. I suggest to process the beets and horseradish in the food process separately because of the different consistency. You don't want the beets to be mush while the horseradish is still in chunks if you process together.
2. You can change the proportion of beets:horseradish according to your taste.

Great served with Haroset on a matza.