Intense earthy flavours for Autumn here. This is a time of the woodlands and fields, of rich earthy smells and sight of your misty breath coiling away into the chill air. It is a time time for slow cooking, for deep complex flavours that echo the world outside and fill the house with enticing smells. You cannot get much more earthy than beetroot of course and paired with cumin forms a sublime combination. The cumin here is elevated to one of the main ingredients and if you get it right they will balance each other perfectly.
- Start with the beetroot. Boil two or three whole for a quarter of an hour or so before putting it into a hot oven (200 centigrade) for half an hour to roast.
- When the beet is nearly done, peel and roughly chop an onion and a couple of garlic cloves and fry slowly in some olive oil and some butter, this will take fifteen to twenty minutes and the onion will be translucent and look like it is bathed in honey.
- Add in two teaspoons of ground cumin seeds, stir and allow to cook for a minute then add a small potato peeled and chopped.
- Take the beets out of the oven, peel them chop into pieces and add to the pan.
- Pour in a pint and a quarter of half strength vegetable stock and leave to simmer until the potato is cooked.
- Blend smooth and return to the pan,
- Heat a dry frying pan and pour in a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds and toast until lightly browned. Add these to the soup.
- Lastly squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and some salt and pepper if you think it needs any.
I like whole spices in my soups, They soften but keep their flavour and when you crunch one up you get a sudden burst of flavour as well as the extra crunchiness. Serve with a splodge of sour cream and some lemon zest, both of which will back up the lemonyness of the cumin.