Beet and Orange Salad with Bourbon Braised Onions

Beet and Orange Salad with Bourbon Braised OnionsAs many of you know, at least at this time in my life, my go-to reads of choice have been cookbooks. Yes, I am currently reading other genres; several food magazines, Nat Geo, Voice of the Martyrs, and various publications about North Korea , but for the last little while I have been reading individual cookbooks the way one might read a novel. Cover to cover.

I like hearing how each author came by a particular recipe and their opinions about how and why they cook it the way they do. I especially enjoyed my long journey through Anthony Bourdain’s “Appetites.” That is in fact where this recipe came from.

Bloody Beet Handprint


Anyone who likes to watch food shows does, of course, know of Bourdain. Which part of Bourdain you know will depend on what show (or what book) you are familiar with. If you are watching “A Cook’s Tour” or reading “Kitchen Confidential” you are fraternizing with the skinny-and-definitely-doing-heroin Bourdain. If you are more into “No Reservations” and “Medium Raw” than you know middle-Bourdain; more grown-up but with a terrible bachelor-in-collage alter ego. What I have come to enjoy about “Parts Unknown” and “Appetites” is that it appears Anthony has finally grown up… well as much as Tony can. He’s kicked his drug habits, and even cigarettes, and although he can still drink himself under the table, it is no longer the center point of what he shares. Now it is much less about the food he is consuming and way more about what is happening with the people and the area he is visiting. Beet HandsPolitics without the politics, if you may. He doesn’t take sides (or so it seems) but instead tries to offer viewers a more inside scoop about what is going on. Perhaps the one we aren’t seeing on Fox News.

“Appetites” isn’t about travel, other than the fact that a lot of the dishes have come from his travels. No, it’s the cookbook of his family. What they like and regularly actually eat, now that he has become a family man. It may have taken a long time (fifty years) but yes, Anthony Bourdain is loving being a father. Unfortunately marriage didn’t work out so well, with a divorce after finally getting married in the first place. But how could it not, with 250 days a year spent on the road?

I guess none of that has anything to do with anything really, but It’s been shared none-the-less.
(Edit 6/8/2018 – You will be missed Tony.)

Bourbon Braised Red Onions Anthony Bourdain had a recipe for braised beets and oranges in his book. It had red onions listed but he didn’t do anything other than slice them. Perhaps I didn’t take enough time to ponder how thinly they might have been sliced, but with no picture for reference, I felt that long strips of raw red onion would be too strong to go with the sweet and soft beets and oranges. Even if I were to dice them, it would just end up being something I would have to pick-out for my son. I decided to come up with a braised onion recipe to use instead. Bourbon and honey were the perfect candidates! Not only do I love that recipe for a variety of other uses, it was perfect for rounding out this one as well.

In the end, I like this recipe. I love beets. I think it’s an interesting way to introduce them to children. I have spoken.

Beet and Orange Salad with Bourbon Braised Red Onions

By:semiserious chefs


  • 6 baby or 3 large beets
  • 1 navel orange
  • Zest of the orange
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 T honey (or agave)
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • additional 2 t red wine vinegar
  • fresh or dried mint for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Trim the greens off the beets. (Be sure to save them for other uses, they are eatable) Toss the whole beets in oil and place cut end down in a baking dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 425 degrees, until easily punctured with a knife tip.
  2. Remove the beets from oven and let cool enough to be able to peal off the skins.
  3. Slice the cooked beets and the zested peeled orange into rings and then into wedges. Toss with 2 t red wine vinegar and orange zest. Set aside.
  4. To make the braised onions: slice into rings, and add to a skillet with the 1/2 cup each red wine vinegar and bourbon, and the honey. Simmer over medium until reduced to a thick sauce.
  5. Toss the onions with the beets and oranges.
  6. Sprinkle with mint for plating.

2 comments on “Beets, Oranges, and Bourbon Onions (and A Little About Anthony Bourdain)”

ilene says:

very delicious!!! Since it wasn”t indicated, I put the orange zest into the braising onions.

avduley says:

Thanks so much for your comment! You’re right, I never mentioned when to add them. I’ve corrected it now. You can either put them in with the vinegar on the beets and oranges, or add them at the end like the mint. I’m very glad you enjoyed it! It’s one of my favorites! -Vanessa

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