Coming to the end of the summer means that root vegetables start to become more abundant in the shops, including one of my favourites, beetroot (or just beets). During the summer I do like to just harvest young beetroot shoots for adding to pasta, but now that the beets are older the shoots aren’t as nice. As a child, I hated beetroot, I think because it was always pickled, and to me the taste was too strong. Now my palate has matured I love cooked beetroot’s natural sweet and earthy flavour.
Borscht is a beetroot soup that originated in the Ukraine, but many other European countries have their own versions, including some cold types of soup that include yoghurt which causes the borscht to take on a very unappetising pink colour. Regular beetroot soup has a deep, dark red colour and is simply made from beetroot, onions and stock, but additions such as tomatoes, bacon, potatoes, cabbage, leeks, etc are also common.
One problem with cooking with beetroot, is that peeling and chopping it can get a bit messy, but if you peel the beetroot under running water, it will help prevent the red staining of your hands. However you can rub your hands with some salt and lemon juice, and then rinse with soapy water if you forget.
Simple Beetroot Soup
- 6 medium beetroot, peeled and chopped
- 1 large onion
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1.5 pints (700ml) of chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Gently sauté the onion and garlic in a pan and then add the beets, tomato.
- Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cook until the beets are tender.
- Liquidise the soup until smooth, using a blender or food processor and return to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and then serve. Add a small spoon of sour cream as a garnish. Any leftovers can be easily be frozen.