Cvikla s Chrenom – Beet and Horseradish Relish

Beet and Horseradish are two roots that make a great relish for the Slovak Easter ham (much like cranberry sauce with turkey for Thanksgiving). There is a similar relish used for the Passover lamb but it has a higher horseradish/beet ratio. It’s best to start this recipe a couple days before serving so you have time to adjust the horseradish to taste. This recipe is really simple. You will need:

Beets (see below)
Horseradish (see below)
White vinegar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

(I apologize for my horrible photography skills. Please pretend this 
is a beautiful bowl of grated beet relish, not a steak or 
something/someone else that found its way through the wood chipper)

Beets: For an authentic taste, you will use 2 beets. Peel them, cut off the stem, chop into 2-inch cubes, and boil for 30-40 mins. Drain and finely grate or run through a food processor. Set aside. You can use 14 oz. pickled beets instead and skip the boiling process, but it won’t taste quite as good as fresh beets.

Horseradish: The prevailing rule here is to add horseradish to taste. There are three ways to prepare the horseradish.

  • The easiest is to buy a prepared minced horseradish in a jar. When using this kind, make sure you add about 1/2 cup horseradish for every 2 cups of beets. 
  • A more authentic way is to zest raw horseradish root. Add 2 Tbsp. to the recipe, let sit overnight, then decide whether to add more. The potency of raw horseradish varies widely but you might want to add up to 3/4 cup for every 2 cups of beets.
  • Finally, you can peel the horseradish root, boil it, then zest it or grate it in the food processor. This will mellow out the flavor a bit, so you will want about 1 cup horseradish per 2 cups beets.

Mix all the ingredients together with about 1-2 Tbsp. vinegar if you used pickled beets, and 1/3-2/3 cups if you used fresh beets. Cover and chill overnight. I recommend adding half the vinegar when you first make it, then add the rest a day later if it needs more. Serve with ham and deviled eggs and be sure not to stain your clothes.

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