I don’t consider myself a huge vege-lover and I’m certainly not a friend of beetroot. But there’s so much to love about this Roasted Beetroot Soup. Firstly, I adore vibrantly coloured foods and this lurid shade is so mesmerising. So vivid! So intense! I sure hope you don’t have a pristine white kitchen folks because this soup and the bright beetroots will show you (and your minimalist decor) no mercy. Not even my white, freshly washed mutt was spared. The state of my kitchen after I battled the beets would’ve made Dexter cream his pants.
If you’re anything like me, be prepared for a lot of this on your benchtops!
Naturally the beetroot means that this soup isn’t too dissimilar to a Borscht but I don’t want to offend the purists so I’m not going to call it that. Either way, it is rich, flavoursome and full-bodied – just the way I like it. A dollop of creme fraiche is perfect to cut through the intense earthiness and sweetness of the beets and just rounds off each spoonful with a smooth creamy finish.
The slight hit of cayenne pepper gives this a beautiful kick but a word of warning though, if you’re using extra hot cayenne pepper then exercise caution (it’s not like black pepper, so don’t go nuts with it). I don’t need to tell you this but obviously, this soup just screams for crusty bread to accompany it and some stark white bowls to serve it in.
Beetroot Soup with Crème Fraîche and Dill
2 large beetroot bulbs (approx 700g to 1kg)
2 rashers of middle bacon (approx 80g), finely chopped
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 white cabbage (approx 220g), finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1.5 L (6 cups) chicken stock (can be replaced by vegetable stock)
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
a small handful of finely chopped dill
sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 200°C and wrap each beetroot bulb with foil and place on a foil lined roasting pan (just in case of leaking juices). Roast for 1.5-2 hrs until tender (time will depend on how big your beetroots are. Test by poking a skewer through it). Set aside to cool down completely, then peel and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Heat up the butter in a large pot. Add bacon, onion and garlic and sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes or until softened.
Add stock, cabbage, carrot and white wine vinegar, increase the heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer over medium-low heat for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.
Add chopped roasted beetroot and dill and simmer for a further 20-30 minutes or until very tender. Purée with a hand blender or standard tabletop blender. Keep warm in the pot, season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper (be careful adding this explosive stuff especially if you’re using ‘extra hot’ like I did!).
Serve soup topped with a dollop of crème fraîche and freshly grated horseradish (very Borscht traditional but purely optional). This would also be brilliant served with crusty bread or crispy rye crackers.
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller