Yes, another post, another bad pun. I’ll see if I can keep this going, but I’ll try. I won’t be beet-en!
Ok, so beetroot. I hated beetroot as a kid. As someone raised mainly on a Chinese diet as a child, and having never seen a beetroot in my whole life, I have memories of “Salad Day” at my primary school, at the age of 6 and being forced to eat this disgusting purple stuff that was cold, flabby and soaked in vinegar. I think a lot of people have had similar experiences which is probably why a lot of people don’t like it.
Past experiences were enough to put me off beetroot for life but my stance was turned around after trying honey glazed roasted beetroot a number of years ago and I was converted. Now I can’t get enough of the stuff and sometimes I do even treat myself to the pickled variety, but only sometimes.
There was a massive glut of beetroot at my local farm shop and ended up buying a couple of kilos in order to make this fantastic soup that was served up at my friend Dan’s murder mystery party the other week. I found myself making this at 6.30am on a Wednesday morning after not being able to get back to sleep….
The recipe kind of a Middle Eastern take on the classic Russian borscht and can be eaten hot or cold. I had it hot for lunch one day and then chilled the next. They were both delicious but there was something about the chilled version, really refreshing and perfect for a warm day.
I have adapted the Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe slightly and added a touch of ginger for warmth and instead of the spiced yoghurt he suggests, I opted for soured cream as a nod to its Eastern European roots.
This is a really quick, really easy soup to make, plus it’s the most amazing colour that really cheers you up. Suffice to say I love garish colours, so this soup is perfect for me, really beet-iful! (yes yes I know!!)
Beetroot and Cumin Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 thumb sized piece of ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
750g beetroot, peeled and cut into small chunks
750ml vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Get a large pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and then add in the onion, garlic, ginger and cumin and cook gently for five to 10 minutes, until the onion, ginger and garlic are soft but try not to colour them too much.
Add the beetroot chunks, stir everything around then add the stock. Bring to a simmer, stick on a lid and cook for around 20-25 minutes, until the beetroot is tender.
Blend up the soup, return it to the pan and season to taste. If it seems too thick, thin it down with a little more stock or water to get it to the right consistency.
Serve the soup, hot or chilled, with a dollop of soured cream swirled in just before serving and some parsley sprinkled on top.
Beets me how a soup can be so simple and so good!