Seasonal Recipe No 55: Chilled beetroot soup

This summer soup recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall in The Guardian was served by Camel CSA member Anne Sadler at our Big Lunch.

Collective verdict? Delicious, but go easy on the vegetable stock as its taste could overpower the beetroot. Hugh says: “Roasting the beetroot adds a greater depth of flavour. The tartness of the sour cream is great with the sweet, earthy soup.”

Serves 4-6

Preparation / cooking: 45 minutes + 1 hour to roast the beetroot

550g beetroot
4½ tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, 2 unpeeled and bashed, 2 peeled and minced
1 onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
800ml good vegetable stock
4 tbsp sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fronds of dill, to garnish

Give the beetroot a scrub, but leave the roots and part of the tops attached. Toss in a roasting pan with three tablespoons of olive oil, the bay, thyme sprigs and the bashed, unpeeled garlic, cover tightly with foil and roast at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 60-75 minutes, until you can pierce them easily with a knife. Leave to cool slightly, then peel (the skins should just slip off) and chop into 2.5cm cubes.

Warm the remaining oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and sauté the onion until soft, for around 15 minutes, add the carrot and sauté for a further five minutes. Add the beetroot and garlic, stir for a minute or two, then add the stock. Simmer for 20 minutes, set aside to cool a little, then purée until very smooth. Thin with a little stock or water if too thick, taste, season, cover and chill for at least four hours or overnight – it’s even better served the day after you’ve made it.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and serve with a swirl of sour cream and a sprinkling of dill.

More beetroot soup recipes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall:
Beetroot soup with feta
Beetroot and cumin soup with spiced yoghurt

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