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This is star anise. It has a licorice like taste and is available at most stores now but definitely at Whole Foods
Start with beautiful fresh beets preferably with the tops on them. The tops should be crisp, fresh, and free if major damage.
Rinse them well to remove any loose earth or weeds
Now it's time to separate the stems and roots. I like to cut the beets just above the top and the leaves at the base removing an inch or two of the stems which are fibrous.
Rinse the beets in cold water and wipe clean with a towel
Beautiful beet greens.
Cut the garlic head in half and the shallots in quarters. Cover the beets barely with water and add the salt, peppercorns, garlic, shallots, and hand crushed bay leaves.
Place the pan in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until a knife enters them with no resistance. If you're not sure, taste one! You'll know; )
*note that the beets used here are the diameter of a silver dollar or a little bigger. Larger beets will require more cooking time.
Pull the beets from the oven and they should look like this.
Shock the beets to stop the cooking process by putting a few scoops of ice over them
Remove the beets from the water. They should now peel easily by either rubbing them with a kitchen towel or just your bare hand. Enjoy them any way you'd like!