This beetroot soup recipe was, my rather forgetful mother-in-law says, one of her favourites. It has an interesting flavour and makes a change from borsch.
The original recipe wanted the vegetables sauteed then boiled, and it came with a ‘strong chicken stock’. We changed things a little, to roast the veggies while the vegetable stock simmered down on the stove. I hoped that the flavours would be all the richer from the baking, and it turned out to be right. It’s also easier in that you don’t have to watch the veggies too closely to begin with, even if it does take longer to bake than boil.
You can see the recipe my mother-in-law used here. It tells you about about the recipe’s creator, too:
It wouldn’t be my choice of soups: the combination of beetroot and potato is a bit less exciting than that of borsch, but my mother-in-law loves it. So I guess it’ll be on the menu for as long as she is with us.
Hot beetroot soup
- olive oil
- 400 grams of beetroot
- 400 grams of potato
- 2 onions
- stock: 1 litre of water, 2 dried mushrooms, 1 carrot, 1 bay leaf, 1 onion, 1 stick of celery
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the stock: put all the ingredients in a suitably-sized saucepan and simmer for about an hour. Keep an eye on it and top it up with water if the liquid starts to get a bit low.
- While the stock is simmering, prepare the vegetables.
- Chop the beetroot, potato and onion, spread them out in a thin layer across the bottom of a baking dish, drizzle some olive oil over the top, then bake for 40 to 60 minutes in a 180ºCelcius (350F) oven.Take them out of the oven when they are tender but not yet crisp. You’ll be able to easily run a fork through them when they’re ready.
- Pour the liquid from the stock into a large pot, then tip in the baked vegetables. Simmer for a while, until the beetroot is well and truly cooked. Add in the salt and pepper.
- Puree the soup: you can use a stick blender, or pour into into a benchtop blender.
- Before serving, bring the soup back to a simmer.
Sometimes, it seems like that baking step takes forever. An easy shortcut is to microwave the vegetables for about 10 minutes on high, then finish them off in the conventional oven. You end up with a flavour that’s almost as rich as if you baked the vegetables for the whole cooking time, but with a bit less delay.
You also need to watch those onions: they can cook really quickly. If you find that happens in your oven, just add them into the baking dish a bit later so the potato and beetroot can cook first.
This soup could also be served with the usual flavour enhancers for beetroot soups: dill and sour cream (or yoghurt or cashew cream).
Source: A Grace Mulligan recipe, in The Best of TV Cookery, Hennerwood Publications, London, 1986.