You just can't beat biology. A year ago, I was merrily blathering on about how, despite my Polish roots, I didn't really like beetroot. But somewhere among all the recipes, genetics laughed in my face and made me eat my words. 15 months on, the cold, hard evidence of this blog proves that beetroot is now one of my favourites - and this soup is nothing more or less than liquidated cwikla, the Polish beetroot and horseradish relish I disdained for the first 26 years of my life. Oooh, I'm sure my mum is laughing her head off right now. She and her purple-stained fingers always knew this day would come.
Also, what a sign that Autumn is well and truly here - this is my second soup in a week. But I couldn't help it, honest guv. Just look at these beetroot. Aren't they beautiful? Lustrous and glowing, jewels scrubbed from the mud, they almost justify the magenta splashes all over my sink, my hands and my (of course) white jumper. They cried out to be the star of the show, my arteries cried out for a bit of a break, and we met in the middle on soup. Needless to say, it might be my new favourite.
Of course, it's not for the faint-hearted. Not only will it turn everything in your kitchen pink (ahem, see photo evidence of the food processor), but the horseradish has quite a kick. But it's fiendishly healthy and matches my new autumn skirt and really, what more could you want from a weekend soup than that? Ok, ok, fine, add plenty of bread and butter on the side (we didn't have any left, but the maple walnut bread would have been great with this).
Roasted Beetroot Soup with Horseradish Cream
Again, from Hugh F-W's Veg Every Day
- 4 whole beetroot
- 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled but well-squashed
- a few sprigs of thyme
- a bay leaf
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 500ml of vegetable stock
- one and a half teaspoons of creamed horseradish
- three teaspoons of plain yoghurt or soured cream
- some dill or chives to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200C and scrub the beetroot really well, leaving them whole. A word of warning - it is almost inevitable that, at some point in this recipe, you'll end up covered in splashes of magenta. But there isn't really any way to avoid it, so just roll your sleeves up and cultivate a sense of Zen.
Put the beetroot, garlic, bay leaf and thyme in a roasting tin with some salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and toss around until it's all coated. Then pour in a wine glass of water, cover tightly with foil and roast in the oven for at least an hour, or until the beetroot are tender.
When you can poke a knife into the beetroot easily, let them cool slightly then top and tail. Hugh said to peel the beetroot too but I'll be honest, we didn't bother. Put the beetroot in a food processor with the squeezed-out garlic and about a quarter of the stock, and blend until silky smooth. Pour into a saucepan and slowly, gently bring it up to heat, stirring in the rest of the stock to thin it out to the right consistency.
While it's warming up, stir together the horseradish and yoghurt. Serve the soup with a dollop of the cream, and the herbs snipped on top.