By the time we get back from the hospital in the evenings my mom and I are exhausted. And finding the enthusiasm to make dinner has proved a challenge. We had a couple of evenings of crisps and leftovers (plus a gin and tonic for me) – snacking in front of the telly as we watched “Live from the Red Carpet”. But it was to step up the game a touch – we needed something fresh.
Johannesburg has had a heat wave, the kind stultifying drop-you-in-your-tracks heat that makes running around in the car all day a real challenge – and none of the usual pasta options held any allure for us. So I decided to make a cold soup. Chris, my brother, and I had been eating gazpacho earlier in the week – topped with whatever we could find. So I didn’t fancy anything tomato based – and the packet of beets in the fridge needed eating. So I decided to try my hand at recreating soup I had eaten a couple of weeks earlier – Beetroot and Apple. Sounds like an odd combination – but the mix of an earthy stock, sweet beets and a sharp sour apple worked perfectly. It can be eaten at whatever temperature you prefer. But was especially good cold.
Beet and Apple Soup
6 beets, trimmed and scrubbed/or a pre-prepared 500 gram pack
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups apple juice (unsweetened)
3 tablespoons salted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste (from 1 large lemon)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Whatever you fancy to garnish.
1. Place the beets in a large, heavy pot and cover with the stock and apple juice. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 45 minutes.
2 Transfer the beets to a bowl with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and cut the beets into pieces.
3. Or use store-bought natural beets with no dressing, bring to boil then simmer them in the stock and juice for 10 mins.
4 Strain stock broth through a fine sieve lined with two paper towels and return it to the pot.
5. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium/low heat. Add the apples and sauté until just caramelised, about 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Purée the cooked beets and sautéed apples together in batches in a food processor or blender. Adding some of the stock broth as you go.
7. Return the purée to the pot and combine with the rest of the stock broth. (No need to reheat)
8. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
9 . Pass the soup through a sieve if you want it very smooth.
Because it is so hot here, I chilled mine and then chopped in whatever was to hand – I used diced left-over beets, slices of baby corn, chopped and sliced cucumber and a handful of bacon croutons Then I drizzled the whole shebang with a peppery olive oil and flecks of sea salt.
It looked gorgeous and tasted lemony, earthy, fresh. A lovely way to end what had been a stressful day.
(All images copyright campari&sofa)