Beetroot Soup with Honey and Thyme

Beetroot is one of my all time favourite ingredients to eat, and since picking up and not being able to put down the garden fork, it’s a favourite to grow too (they’re quick enough growers to grow twice in a season). The epic pinkness of this earthy orb and it’s spectacular ability to turn everything else in it’s wake pink, stole my heart from a young age- in fact there was a long while where I would eat nothing but beetroot. I attribute my undying love of the beetroot, that and my penchant for ice-cold vodka on a cloudy day, to my Polish heritage. However, there’s more than enough to love about it, even if you don’t hail from the Baltic regions.

A simple, delicious and vibrant dish, a bowl of beetroot soup will not only make you feel fantastic (it’s full of folates and anti inflammatories) it looks outrageously charming too.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • Glug of olive oil (or oil of your choice)
  • A small bunch of thyme
  • A teaspoon of honey
  • 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) beetroot (about 8 smallish beetroots)
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • 1litre of vegetable or chicken stock
  •  Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

To serve (optional)

  • Horseradish cream or Crème fraîche to serve
  • A tablespoon of sesame seeds to serve
  • A scattering of thyme leaves

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Scrub the beetroot and cut off the tops and roots, leaving their skins on. With the thyme place your beetroot in tin foil, glug your olive oil, making sure all is well covered, sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap the foil tightly around them and roast for about 50 minutes until the beetroot is soft. When the beetroot has cooled down a bit, the peel should come off easily. (It helps to do this under cool running water.

Once the beetroot is prepared (you can do this in advance if need be), put a glug of oil in a saucepan and sauté the chopped onion until soft and translucent.

At this point, either using a stick blender or food processor, blend the cooked beetroot and the onion to a purée, add your teaspoon of honey, some of the thyme leaves you cooked with the beetroot and a pinch of salt and pepper. Put the mixture into a pan with the stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until golden.

Discard the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Serve with your horseradish for a kick, or crème fraîche for something cooler. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and thyme leaves.

(To make it with extra love, use a toothpick to flick through the centre of your crème fraîche dollops, creating little heart shapes- perfect for serving to loved ones.)

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