Friday, September 21, 2012

The Poetic Power of Beetroot

Golden goodness in a glass. Deliciously sweet in a savory way, naturally creamy, and bursting with beet. This is a recipe that thrives on pure ingredients. Not much is added to the boiled golden beetroot, other than a light (organic) vegetable stock. It is served here with crispy baked kale chips: the bitter-green crunch provided a perfect counterbalance to the sweet beet.

Sliced very thin, raw beetroot is delicious. It is crunchy like biting in an apple, fresh in flavor too. It has to be sliced very, very thin though, as any thickness will make you feel like a horse munching on sugar beet. Toss the thin slices with freshly squeezed lemon juice, fruity olive oil, (sea) salt flakes and very finely chopped fresh parsley and/or fresh thyme leaves.

And then, roasted golden beetroot. It looks like it is candied, and actually it tastes like it too. Except, there is no sugar used. None! It is the beetroot's natural sugars that caramelize when roasted. So many ways to enjoy roasted beetroot. This summer again, I had them simply tossed with white truffle oil, a little fresh lemon juice, and salt flakes. Topped with a few "rosettes" of smoked duck breast, it is the best appetizer!

Cream of Golden Beetroot (optional: with Crispy Baked Kale Chips)
(recipe for 4 as a starter)

2 golden beets, boiled (the flavor is more subdued than when using bursting-with-flavor roasted beets)
1 liter good vegetable stock (from cube is fine)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small onion, diced fine
1 tbsp of olive oil
a dash of double cream (optional)
a squirt of fresh lemon juice

Peel the boiled beets and cut into cubes.

Bring the stock to a boil, simmer softly. If you use cubes, dissolve in boiling water first, rather than adding stock cubes to the "soup" later on. This way, you can control the flavor of your stock better.

In a pan, heat the olive oil, add the onions and slowly (on low heat) soften the onions. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Try not to color the onions, but keep them translucent and light. Add the garlic, and cook with the onions for a quick minute, just to soften a little.

Add the cubed beetroot to the onions and garlic. Add enough vegetable stock to cover, bring to a boil and let all flavors infuse by simmering up to 15 minutes. Puree with a hand-held mixer or in the blender off-heat until smooth and silky. If the pureed beets get to thick, add more stock until you have a smooth, thick yet "soupy" consistency. Add a dash of double cream if desired. Add a squirt of lemon juice, adjust seasoning if needed, spoon through and your Cream of Beetroot is done. You can serve this soup cold or hot.

Obviously, you can make this soup even richer in flavor by using roasted beetroot. And if you have no yellow beet, the same recipe is for red beetroot.

For the Baked Kale Chips, I wash and dry the kale leaves (without stalks), toss them with coarse salt and a little olive oil. Spread out on a baking tray, I bake them at low temperature (140C) for about 20 minutes, until they are crisp.

A Mountain Of Kale Chips: Nutritious & Delicious, You Can Never Have Enough

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