It is truly the end of autumn here. The fallen leaves have stopped being crisp and crunchy underfoot and turned to slippery pre-mulch slime. To be fair, that’s probably got as much to do with the apocolyptic rain we’ve been having as anything, but it all adds to the feeling of brrrr…
It wasn’t a good time for our central heating to go on the fritz then. The boiler was whirring away and there was gallons of hot water, but the radiators were stone cold. Thankfully this was remedied pretty quickly by the nice man from Scottish Gas, but it all put Mr Rhubarb in the mood for borcht.
This is a lovely soup – consomme, really. It’s full-flavoured yet light, cheerfully pink, and ultra-easy to throw together while you’re doing something else. Beetroot is reputedly very good for you, especially your liver. And it makes a nice change from another cup of tea of coffee when you just want something wet to cheer yourself up.
4 or 5 large beetroots
2 sticks celery
3 cloves garlic
six dried mushrooms
Wash your beetroots but don’t bother peeling them and chop into quarters. Put them in a large pot with the celery, broken into two or three bits, the mushrooms and the garlic cloves, cut in half. Pour over cold water, bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer. Leave it cooking for three or four hours or until you think the beets have leached all their flavour out into the water. Strain through a sieve and serve.
If you want to dress it up, you can serve with a plate of boiled potatoes, chopped hard boiled egg and pickle. Dill or parsley would be nice to have on hand too, perhaps with a little sour cream? But don’t go overboard! The brilliance of this soup is easily dulled with too many accompaniments.
Eat up and stay warm.