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Homemade Chrain

I make chrain for Pesach. It’s easy with a food processor, and the results are glorious. I will never buy it again. Double or triple the quantities, if you wish.–Ruth Joseph and Simon Round

LC Chrain? What's That? Note

What’s chrain, you ask? It’s a heck of a memorable condiment traditionally found on the holiday table come Passover and, in eastern Europe, Easter. Its bracing robustness is most terrific alongside rich dishes such as deviled eggs, gefilte fish, and roasted hen, although it also works admirably as a dip with crudités. Depending on the precise proportion of ingredients that the cook chooses, the condiment’s characteristics are either that of a magenta beet relish spiked with a touch of horseradish or a clear-the-sinuses horseradish paste with a tinge of pink—suit yourself, tweaking and tasting as you make it.

Lurking in some of your minds is no doubt the question, Why make it when I can buy it? In response, we have only to quote LC recipe tester and chrain aficionado Sema Stein: “Although a veteran chrain user, this was the first time I have made it myself. The result was delicious with a serious bite to it. I must say, it is the best chrain I have ever had.” Tasting, it seems, is believing.

Homemade Chrain Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 medium beets, unpeeled but scrubbed
  • 1-by-3-inch piece fresh horseradish, peeled and roughly chopped, or more to taste (may substitute prepared horseradish to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or substitute balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled (optional)

Directions

  • 1. Place the whole, unpeeled beets in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain the beets and rinse them under cold running water until they’re cool enough to handle. Using your fingertips, slip off the skins. Then coarsely chop the beets. (You should have about 4 cups, give or take a little.)
  • 2. Place the chopped beets along with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until the desired consistency. (Consider adding the smaller amount of salt and sugar for starters, then toss in more if desired.) Taste and adjust the amount of horseradish accordingly. Cover and refrigerate the chrain for up to 1 week.
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