A great vehicle for home-made bread – this is a lovely, earthy soup that is simple to make and tastes so much better than commercial soups.
I often make several batches of these soups to use the varieties of beetroot I grow. I normally use a mixture of red beetroot and golden beetroot, although sometimes I plump for just one variety; this soup made just with golden beetroot is equally striking visually.
The beetroots do not have to be roasted first – instead they can be added to the water and simmered until cooked – but roasting them intensifies the flavour of the beetroot significantly. I don’t always use stock in vegetable soups – using just water allows the flavours of the vegetables to speak for themselves! And I don’t add too many extras when making this soup as it doesn’t need it.
I like to sprinkle garlic chive flowers over the soup for serving – they give a lovely allium kick without taking over the flavour of the beetroot, and at this time of year as the garlic chives have been in flower for some time it is great to be able to use them. Chive flowers are also stunning used in salads and I always let some of my chives flower just so I can use them in the kitchen.
Beetroot Soup – serves 6
About 1.5 kg beetroot, washed and unpeeled
1 large onion
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
About 2 litres water
A small grating of fresh horseradish or a tablespoon of horseradish cream, optional
Salt and pepper
Creme fraiche for serving, optional
A small handful of chive flowers, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Cut the unpeeled beetroot into thick slices and put on a large baking tray liked with foil along with a few tablespoon of olive oil and the thyme. Bring the foil together to form a parcel for the beetroot and roast for about an hour, or until the beetroot is soft but not mushy. When cool enough to handle peel the skin off the beetroot slices and chop the beetroot roughly.
- Saute the onions over a gentle heat in a tablespoon or so of oil until softened. Add the garlic and the horseradish and cook for a further minute or two.
- Add the beetroot, the water and seasoning and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes then remove from the heat and puree until smooth – a hand-held blender “wand” is excellent for this.
- Serve, with creme fraiche on top and chive flowers, if using.