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Monday, 18 February 2008

block rockin rhu-beets

I've said it before and I'll say it again: beets are beautiful. Earthy, sweet and bright as a blast of sunshine on a crisp and frosty winter afternoon. They are also ideal after a Sunday spent wandering through Highgate cemetery (home to reposing souls as diverse as Karl Marx and Titanic riders).

This recipe is a peculiar one. My interest was piqued when I read about rhubarb and potato soup a while back. When my research uncovered a Nordic dessert, I decided to take it into a different direction and go for something savoury instead, bringing beets into the mix. The result was delicious, fresh and tangy: potato held the rhubarb's creaminess while the beets tempered their tart ways and added some resistance to the mush. Lest it was a one-off fluke, I made it a second time. Once again, I enjoyed a gorgeous combination of mellow beets pushing against the barb's tongue lashing.

What you need
A bunch of small beets for 1/2 a bunch of rhubarb (twice as many beets for your barb is a good ratio)
1 med-large potato
Handful of fresh parsley
Handful of fresh sage (not essential)
Veggie stock
Splash white wine
Olive oil

Making it
Wash, peel and chop your beets and potato. Mix them through a couple of tablespoons of heated olive oil with your rhubarb (washed and chopped). Add some fresh chopped parsley and sage if you have them handy. Let it all heat through on medium for about ten minutes, stirring regularly. Add the wine and cook for another few minutes. Fill the pot with veggie stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a good 20-30 minutes, until the rhubarb and the potato have disintegrated into mushy pieces.

Take your red hot soup off the stove and let it all calm down for a good five minutes. Blend in batches if need be (this is the last thing you want to send spinning round your kitchen walls). Divide between bowls. If you want to add a little creme fraiche, go right ahead. One thing I would advise is to accompany this soup with your favourite toast: its intensity warrants a small serving rather than a whopping plate. If you want to reduce the intensity, bring a little more potato into the mix.

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