I have grown up not liking beetroot. To me it was always something that came in a jar tasting of vinegar and earth. And then one day I had it roasted, in a salad I should think, and everything changed . . . .
- First roast your beetroots, I like to speed things up by boling them first, so scrub a couple and pop them in a pan of cold water.
- Bring to the boil and boil for fifteen minutes or so until just tender when poked with a knife.
- Put the oven on hottish, say 190 centigrade and pop a dish in with some olive oil in to heat.
- Meanwhile you can get on with the pumpkin part which is my usual recipe, so cook slowly an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic along with a thyme stem or two in some oil until soft and golden brown.
- Once the beetroot has boiled drain and allow to cool so you can peel them and chop them into chunks.
- Take the dish out of the oven and put the beetroot into the hot oil along with a clove of garlic peeled and crushed and a few more thyme stems. Pop it back into the oven to roast for another fifteen to twenty minutes.
- To the onion and garlic add in half a small pumpkin, about a breakfast bowl full, peeled and chopped into thumb sized pieces, turn up the heat and cook until the pumpkin browns at the edges, stirring now and again.
- Add a pint and a half of vegetable stock and turning the heat down leave to simmer until the pumpkin is soft.
- Once the beetroot is roasted take it out of the oven and pour in a dessertspoonfull or two of balsamic vinegar and stir around.
There are two recipes going on at once here of course, but why not? - if I am going to all the trouble of roasting beetroot I am going to roast some extra. This mixed with some feta cheese and some more thyme leaves (I like thyme!) makes a lovely salad and if you then add a handfull of that new fangled microsalad, and some bread, you'll have tomorrows lunch. Anyway back to the soup.
- Add the rest of the beetroot to the soup. How much depends on how strong you want the flavour to be, I used about half as much as the pumpkin which gave a distinct but not overpowering taste.
- Allow to cool a little then fish out the thyme stalks and blend the soup until smooth - it will go a beautifull rasberry red colour.
- Squeeze in half a lemon and serve with crumbled feta cheese and still more thyme leaves.
One of the prettiest looking soups I have made for a long time and a gorgeous flavour, comforting and earthy with an orangy hint in there as well.
And thinking of rasberry red here's a memory from the past . . .