Monday, August 3, 2009

Beetroot and Black Russian Tomato Soup with Feta

Beetroot is not only a rich source of carbohydrates, but has no fat and is a great source of fibre, as well as said to have anti-carcinogenic properties in the red colouring matter. It is also one of the many vegetables with a range of antioxidants which help to fight various diseases as well as being a source of folic acid. Black Russians on the other hand are rich, dark mahogany-brown tomatoes a little bigger than cherry tomatoes, that have a delicious blend of sugar and acid with a distinctive, complex. It is raved as being one of the best-tasting tomatoes because of its luscious sweetness. The beetroot and black Russians meld together to form a uniquely robust soup that is given a salty tinge and creamy texture via the addition of crumbled feta garnished atop the soup. Best served with crusty white bread.

This is an adapted recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall the 'talented British writer, broadcaster and campaigner widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food.'

Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients: 3 to 4 medium, apple-sized beetroots, (500-600g), grated coarsely, or choped into small dice; 500 g ripe Black Russian tomatoes; 1 clove garlic, chopped roughly; 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped; 2 tbsp olive; 500ml good strong stock (beef is best, but chicken or vegetable will do); salt and freshly ground black pepper; 125 g Greek feta cheese
Method: Place the beetroot in an ovenproof dish, fairly hot oven (190 degrees C). Roast for about half an hour, then add the halved tomatoes, throw over the garlic and drizzle over half the olive oil. Roast for another 25-30 minutes, until soft and pulpy. Rub tomatoes through a sieve to remove the skin and pips.
Heat the remaining oil in a pan and sweat the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock, tomato puree, beetroot and simmer gently for 7-10 minutes until the beetroot is tender. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer the soup to a blender and process until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
To serve cold, chill the soup in the fridge, then divide between six bowls. Using your fingers, crumble a little feta into each bowl. A sprinkling of grated raw beetroot makes a good garnish for the cold version.

To serve hot, reheat the soup until thoroughly hot but not boiling. Divide between warm bowls and crumble over a little feta into each bowl. Serve with crusty bread.

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