Beetroot is one of the much-loved vegetables in our household, and consequently, we often cook with it and our menus frequently feature beetroot in various guises. Ruby, golden or candy-striped beetroots are all fantastic and I love the many different recipes that can be created using them. Boiled, puréed, roasted, pickled, shaved raw and even used in cakes, are all ways we prepare beetroot for our dishes.
I find growing beetroot is very easy. I use deep terracotta pots and place them in a sunny spot on the terrace. Planting two crops per season is easily achieved if you keep them well watered. However, too much water will encourage leaf growth and the actual beetroots themselves will remain small, so the advice is to let them go dry a bit as the goodness will then be stored in the edible roots rather than in the leaves. The smaller leaves are perfect for use in a garden salad and the larger leaves can be cooked like spinach, if you like.
This beetroot soup is delicious served either hot or chilled. I like serving horseradish cream as a garnish, but crumbled goat’s cheese or crème fraîche will be just as delicious.
Ingredients & Method
For the beetroot soup
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
- 2 banana shallots, finely sliced
- 1 leek, washed and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1kg ruby beetroot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 100ml dry vermouth or dry white wine
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the horseradish cream
- 100ml double cream
- 50g fresh horseradish (prepared weight), peeled and finely grated
- fresh oregano leaves, to garnish
For the beetroot soup, heat the butter and rapeseed oil in a large saucepan over a low heat until melted. Add the shallots, leek, garlic, beetroot and salt and pepper, then cover and sweat for about 10 minutes or until the shallots turn transparent and the beetroot softens slightly, stirring occasionally.
Add the vermouth, increase the heat and cook for about 5 minutes or until reduced. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the beetroot is tender, stirring once or twice.
Remove the pan from the heat and carefully purée the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. If the soup is too thick, thin it down with a bit more hot vegetable stock. Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently until piping hot.
Meanwhile, make the horseradish cream. Lightly whip the cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the grated horseradish, then cover and chill in the fridge until needed.
To serve, ladle the hot soup into warmed soup bowls, then garnish each portion with the horseradish cream (place small dollops on top of the soup) and oregano leaves. Serve immediately with fresh crusty bread.
To serve the soup chilled, make and blend it as directed, then pour into a suitable bowl and leave to cool completely. Cover and chill in the fridge for several hours before serving. Serve in bowls and garnish with horseradish cream and oregano leaves