Beetroot. There was a time when the mere thought of eating it would make me shudder. This aversion was doubtlessly associated with the pickled horrors of my youth ... thick slices of soft, slimy, vinegary beetroot. Yuck.
However, after a recent and successful bid to forgive foods that in my earlier days were labeled inedible, I decided to make an "All" beetroot dish! A fresh, vibrant, sexy, beetroot soup.
This soup is healthy, wholesome and satisfying. The perfect combination for a winter warming dish. It is also wonderfully refreshing when served chilled in the summertime.
Like most vegetables, beetroot benefits from roasting, intensifying it's sweet and earthy flavour. The tangy creme fraiche pairs fabulously with the naturally sweet beetroot.
This recipe is so simple and can be made up to two days in advance. Roasting the beetroot ahead of time will make it even easier.
4-5 medium to large beetroot, trimmed and scrubbed
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 large bay leaf
4-5 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
3 tbls or more of whipping cream
Creme fraiche or sour cream to serve
Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap each beetroot individually in tin foil and cook for one hour until tender. Insert a knife or toothpick into the center to check. Allow to cool. Using gloves, pinch the skin to remove. It should come off with little resistance. Chop beetroot into bite size pieces.
Meanwhile, heat a few tbls of butter in large pan. Add onion and carrot and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds or so. Add the bay leaf, thyme and 4 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Add the cooked beetroot pieces to to the pan, stir and remove from the heat. The goal here is not to overcook the beetroot in order to retain its vibrancy. Allow mixture to cool. Once cooled, discard thyme sprig and bay leaf. Transfer mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. The soup should be thick but not too thick. Gradually add the leftover cup of hot stock if needs be. Reheat soup over a medium-low heat and slowly stir in the cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with creme fraiche or sour cream.