Winter has well and truly set in now. Gone are the days of wandering into the village in only a t-shirt, and any thoughts of beer gardens or barbecues have been shelved for the forseeable future. So it’s time to batten down the hatches, Artex your underpants & give a right smart & tarty salute to your radiators.
The first proper winter food I think of is soup. Here’s a dead simple recipe for a cheeky little beetroot number. Warning, then you come to blend this, either use the liquidiser with the lid firmly on, or if you use a stick blender, wrap a clean teatowel around the top of the pan, or your kitchen will soon resemble an outtake from a SAW movie.
You’ll need about a pound each of beetroot & tomatoes. Half your toms & place in a roasting tray with 1 clove of finely chopped or crushed garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast until charring for around 45 mins.
Fry one garlic clove, crushed or chopped & one large onion chopped with olive oil & a knob of butter in a large saucepan with salt, pepper and a sprig of rosemary, thyme & two bay leaves.
Let the onions sweat without colouring for 5 – 10 mins.
Peel & chop your beetroots (don’t wear good clothing when making this soup. By the end of it you’ll look like a serial killer). Add to the pan with the onions & rosemary mix.
Add your roast tomatoes. Make up a litre of veg stock to taste, rinse out the tomato pan to gather any last juices & add to the vegetables.
Simmer for 45 mins to an hour or until the beets are tender, then liquidise (carefully). Check seasoning. Serve with crusty bread & horseradish cream (I used low fat creme fraish mixed with grated horseradish from a jar, as I couldn’t get fresh).
A trick I tend to use with all soups I make, but not really part of the recipe, is to add the heel of a Parmesan wedge at the simmering stage. When you get near the end of a wedge of Parmesan, never throw the last hard bit away, as it’s great for seasoning soup. It’ll go soft but remain whole, so you can pick it out along with the bay leaves before blending.
Enjoy : )