Baking the beetroot helps to intensify the flavour. If you want to use ready cooked beetroot make sure that it has not been coated in vinegar
- 700g(1 ½ lb) raw beetroot
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 litre (1 ¾ pt) chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tbsp dry sherry
- Natural yogurt or sour cream to serve
- chopped chives or dill to garnish
The finely grated zest and juice of an orange can be used to replace the fennel seeds if preferred.
Heat oven to 200C, 180C fan, 400F, gas 6. Trim the beetroot, wrap them in foil and place in a roasting tin. Cook for 1hr-1hr 30 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven, leave to cool, then peel and roughly chop.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion, leek and carrot and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft with a hint of colour. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a further minute. Add the beetroot, chicken stock, and sherry. Season with salt and pepper, stir well then bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Cool the soup slightly then puree the soup in batches in a liquidiser until smooth.
To serve bring the soup back to the boil and adjust the seasoning. Serve in warmed bowls with a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream and chopped chives or dill.