This festive appetizer can be prepared largely ahead of time. Refrigerate the partially cooked beets and cooked meat filling in the fridge until shortly before you want to serve. Assemble and grill or cook for just a few minutes so the flavors can blend.
Place the beets in a medium-sized saucepan and cook in their peels until they are partially softened. (You should be able to pierce them with a fork, but not too easily.) Cool and peel.
Cut a bit of the beet off the bottom so that it stands firmly.
Cut a third of an inch (one centimeter) off the top.
With a sharp (preferably rounded) knife, cut out the inside of the beet, leaving a fifth of an inch (half a centimeter) around the edges. The more you remove from inside the beet, the more filling you can fill it with.
The beet centers that you’ve removed from each beet can be turned into a delicious salad for a later course. Simply dice the beets, add some salt, olive oil, and lemon juice, and you’re all set.
Heat the oil in a wide frying pan. Add the onion and ground beef and sauté over a high flame, stirring constantly, until the meat becomes crumbly.
Add the beet leaves, raisins, pine nuts, salt, nutmeg, cumin, and honey; mix well, and lower the flame to medium. Cook for 15 minutes, uncovered. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Set the oven to broil.
In a small bowl, combine water, lemon juice, and salt.
Pour a small amount of liquid over each hollowed-out beet.
Fill with two tablespoons meat filling.
Arrange filled beets in a baking pan.
Pour the rest of the water–lemon juice mixture over the filled beets and broil for five minutes. Alternatively, place the filled beets in a wide, shallow pot and cook over a high flame for five minutes.
Drizzle with a bit of olive oil or date honey and serve warm.
The stuffed beets can last in the refrigerator for up to three days.