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Seamus commons beetroot orzo
Picture: Brian Clarke assisted by Harry Weir

Beetroot and chocolate orzo with hazelnut, rocket and balsamic pear

A unique take on seasonal ingredients from chef Seamus Commons


A unique take on classic ingredients from Seamus Commons, head chef at Knockranny House Hotel.

"This is a really quirky dish – the colour is so vibrant and the chocolate adds a brilliantly sweet touch to the savoury beets. Balsamic pear vinegar can be found in some good delis, otherwise just use a really good quality balsamic." - Seamus Commons

Beetroot and chocolate orzo with hazelnut, rocket and balsamic pear

Serves 2


  • 1 candied beetroot
  • 1 golden beetroot
  • 1 red beetroot
  • 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic
  • 1 tablespoon port
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 300g cooked orzo
  • 5g rocket
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic pear vinegar

For the hazelnut dressing

  • 5g Dijon mustard
  • 10g honey
  • 20ml balsamic vinegar
  • 20ml truffle vinegar
  • 20ml white wine vinegar
  • 20ml truffle oil
  • 20ml hazelnut oil
  • 50ml rapeseed oil
  • 100g hazelnuts, roasted and cracked


1. Bake beetroots on a tray sprinkled with salt in an oven at 180ºC/gas mark 4 until soft, about 25-35 minutes depending on size.

2. Peel and quarter the candied and golden beetroot and caramelise on the pan until golden.

3. Peel and roughly chop the red beetroot. Add to a blender along with some good balsamic, port and dark chocolate. Blitz to make a paste. Warm paste in a pot and add cooked orzo.

4. To make the dressing, using a bowl and whisk, mix the mustard and honey together. Whisk in all the vinegars until combined. Add in all of the oils until the dressing comes together. Add hazelnuts.

5. To serve, place the orzo in the centre of a warm bowl. Top with four pieces of caramelized beetroot. Add a sprinkling of hazelnut dressing, top with rocket leaves and drizzle with pear balsamic.

TIP: Use chocolate with a very high percentage of cocoa – the bitter
flavour works best with the beetroot.

Recipe credit: Seamus Commons of Knockranny House Hotel

Photography Credit: Brian Clarke, assisted by Harry Weir