3lbbeets (scrubbed and trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached)
2Tbspmaple syrup or honey
2Tbspolive oil (or canola)
1/2tspdried thyme, or 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (optional)
In a large pot (or divided between two pots), cover beets with lightly salted water by 1 inch. Cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes or until tender. Drain beets in a colander. Cool until they can be handled, then slip off skins and stems.
Cut beets lengthwise into wedges. Beets may be prepared this way up to this point, two days ahead. Cover and chill. If prepped and refrigerated, bring beets to room temperature before proceeding.
In a large skillet stir together vinegar, syrup or honey, and oil. Add beets. Cook beet mixture over moderate heat, stirring until heated through and well coated.
Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with thyme and toss gently.