Tag Archives: beetroot

Recipe: Beetroot tart tatin

One of the hits of supper club this weekend were the little beetroot tart tatin’s I served as a starter. Beetroot is another of those quintessentially English ingredients that have fallen out of favour, but right now it is in season and if people only knew how delicious beetroot is they would be flocking to buy it.

Its lack of popularity these days has a lot to do with the pickled variety. Horrific memories of jarred beetroot tasting of malt vinegar were enough to put a person off for life, but put these thoughts out of your head and look deeper and you will soon discover that there are so many other ways of preparing and eating beetroot. It has a natural sweetness that makes it versatile in so many dishes and has a long growing season which means it retains its place on the menu almost all year round.

In the summer months it is perfect just scrubbed and grated in a salad, you don’t even need to peel it. It makes a delicious and unusual hummus or cooked in a risotto adding a lovely reddish pink colour. If you desperately want to save it for the late winter/early spring when the season ends then you can preserve it, not in the awful malt vinegar but as a chutney or relish, or for a more exotic dish try making the famous Ukrainian cold soup borscht, topped with a little sour cream.

It makes an equally good hot soup in the winter, topped with plenty of crumbled feta or goats cheese, or you can use it in a cake like you would carrots in carrot cake (check out Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls chocolate beetroot brownies or seek out a recipe for red velvet cake that uses beetroot).

I am a huge tatin fan (it might well be one of my signature dishes!) and as far as i’m concerned anything round or sliceable makes a good tatin topping. Why stick with apple when there are so many other things to try!…I’ve made pear tatin with vanilla salted caramel, potato and cherry tomato tatin and traditional of course traditional apple, but this time beetroot was my ingredient of choice; freshly picked from Pippa and John’s small-holding in Bethel and baked in a case of crisp rough puff pastry (which is much easier and quicker than puff pastry). Served simply with some fresh baby spinach leaves, deliciously creamy goats cheese pearls from Y Cwt Caws and a sweet and sharp apple balsamic vinaigrette. The small tarts made a fantastic and striking starter but you can easily turn it into a larger tatin for a wonderful lunch or supper or supper for friends or family.

Beetroot tart tatin:

For the rough puff pastry I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls recipe in everyday…its a good basic recipe;

300g plain flour, pinch of Halen Mon sea salt and 150g cold unsalted Calon Wen butter.

Cut the butter into cubes and toss with the flour and salt until just coated. Add really cold water drop by drop until the mixture comes together into a stiff dough.

Shape into a rectangle and roll out until it’s about and inch thick then fold into three like I have in the picture below, then give it a quarter turn so the seam is on the left…like a book.

Repeat this procedure 5 times and then wrap the pastry in cling film and place it in the fridge to rest for about half an hour.

For the tatin topping:

500g small beetroot, scrubbed and trimmed. No need to peel.

1 tablsepoon olive oil

25g butter

1 tablespoon soft brown sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon apple balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190 degrees C. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan or roasting tin, add the beetroot and toss to coat. Add sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and taste…it may need a little more sugar or vinegar. Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Once cooked remove from the oven and arrange neatly in a large tin….if the beetroot are large they may need chopping in half, or if you are using individual tins like I did, they can be neatly sliced to fit.

Pour over any juices adding a little more balsamic vinegar if desired.

Roll out the pastry and cut a circle slightly larger than the pan (or pans). Place carefully over the pan and tuck in any excess around the sides of the beetroot. Return to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Leave to rest in the tin for a couple of minutes and then place a plate over the top of the tin and quickly turn it over. The tatin should come out pretty cleanly. Stand back and admire the results…they always look so effective and have that wow factor…probably why I love them so much!

For the vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon whole grain English mustard

1 tablespoon apple balsamic vinegar

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

chopped spring onion when in season or a small shallot…finely chopped

Mix the ingredients in a clean jam jar and shake well. Trickle over the tatin and serve with some scattered goats cheese pearls, salad leaves or baby spinach leaves

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A hearty beetroot and feta soup to warm on a winters day

The lovely Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Yes, I admit I have a thing for him and his cooking; I find that combination of posh, combined with down to earth practicality strangely sexy) comes up trumps again with this amazingly simple, yet complex wintry soup. The combination of roasted tomato, garlic, good meaty stock and salty feta cheese, produces an intensely rich (don’t have too much of it!) but totally satisfying lunch or supper dish. In fact it is so hearty that you really don’t even need bread with it.  I ate mine accompanied by a simple salad made with the (very) last of the Moelyci tomatoes and baby cucumbers, some winter lettuce leaves, a couple of small peppers (diced) another crumble of feta cheese, some olives, a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a glug of good olive oil.

The soup recipe is:

3 to 4 apple sized beetroot

tablespoon olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

500ml good beef stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarians)

Roast tomato sauce (see below)*

a good crumble of feta cheese (125g or so)

salt and pepper

*Roast tomato sauce: 500g ripe tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss everything in a roasting tin and stick in the oven (gas mark 4, 180 degree C) for about 35 minutes until soft pulpy and starting to char a little. Push through a sieve to remove seeds and skin.

Peel and grate or dice beetroot (to avoid the unattractive purple hand look wear marigolds). Finely chop the onion and sweat gently in olive oil until just soft. Add beetroot, stock and season well. Bring to the boil and simmer until the beetroot is tender (about 10 minutes if grated, maybe a bit longer if diced). Add the prepared tomato sauce and blend until smooth. Check seasoning and serve with a good helping of feta crumbled over the top (and bread if you really want a bit extra). Eat by the side of a big roaring fire and you will feel warm from your nose to your toes!

PS. I have to warn you, eating this much beetroot does tend to have a strange side effect….I will let you find this out for yourselves)

Denise x

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