Sunday, 19 July 2009
Beetroot and rhubarb soup
I love home grown produce, but I have to admit that my own record in this regard is a bit patchy. So far this year I have failed at least as much as I've succeeded, although I have been very proud of my potatoes (grown in sacks), blueberries and rocket. My little apple and pear trees are looking a bit mournful just now, though I have just moved them into bigger pots to try and appease them, my tomatoes are ok-ish, and the strawberry plants bore fruit very briefly. The butternut squash plants which I planted from seed, and which shot to adolescence under Vicki's careful tending and sun lounge when we were on holiday got munched to bits the instant I put them in the beds, as did the courgette and the sweetcorn I bought at Kenilworth farmer's market. Evil slugs. I was very unhappy. So I have the utmost respect for anyone who manages a better crop - The Scientist's sister, for example, who has courgettes growing aplenty, and our friends E and D, who have a whole plot of rhubarb, broad beans, courgette and gooseberries. We went to visit E and D a couple of weekends ago to meet their new baby, and D very generously sent me off laden with goodies. The gooseberries became a fool, the broad beans went in a soup, and a lot of the rhubarb was stewed and eaten with yogurt for breakfast. I had a bit of rhubarb left though, and fancied making something savoury with it. I was tempted and inspired by Johanna's rhubarb dipping sauce, and Jacqueline's rhubarb and balsamic dressing. In the end I took elements from both, and partnered my rhubarb with some beetroot in a soup. I did find a recipe for this combination which gave me the clever idea of cooking each in turn in the same water. I liked Jacqueline's balsamic, but modified it to red wine vinegar, which is an ingredient in my favourite borscht recipe. I ended up eating the soup warm as it was a changeable sort of day, but I think it would be very nice cold as well. It was rich from the beetroot, with a slight sharpness from the rhubarb, which I think was enhanced by the vinegar. I was quite pleased as I rarely come up with my own recipes - though I have a number of sources to thank for my inspiration!
Rhubarb and beetroot soup
3 small beetroots
2 small sticks of rhubarb
red wine vinegar, to taste.
yogurt, to taste
Cut the tops of the beetroot and place in a small pan of water. Bring to the boil, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon, and set aside to cool.
Chop the rhubarb into inch long chunks, discarding the ends, and cook in the same liquid until soft - about five minutes or so. Remove from heat and leave to cool, reserving cooking liquid.
When the beetroot is cool enough to handle, slip off the skins, and chop roughly. Place in a small blender with the rhubarb and enough of the cooking water to make the consistency you like (start with a little and add more). Stir in red wine vinegar to taste, and season. You can stir yogurt through at this stage, or do as I did, and serve it on the top.