Monday, December 08, 2008

Elizabeth David's 'Hebrew Soup'
From Summer Cooking

Out of season and a bit odd, I know, but this soup is quite interesting. We pulled up the last of our beetroots only a week or so ago - they'd grown huge and intimidating. I barely scrubbed them, just put them in a big pot with water and boiled until tender, then lifted them from the dirty water and peeled thickly.

What to do with them? I have put some aside to make beetroot falafel, but used the rest to make this Hebrew Soup from Elizabeth David's Summer Cooking.

The instructions are simple and characteristically vague. Chop cooked beetroot (250g) and put into a pan with 1.5 pints water and a splash of vinegar (abour 1tbsp) and some salt. Boil until the beets are tender, then pour over a beaten egg and press the concoction through a sieve (I blended before sieving, to help it along a bit). Chill thoroughly.

Elizabeth David says the soup is to be served cold, but I just couldn't do it (and after I'd followed her recipe so faithfully too!). So I reheated it ever so gently, having steamed a handful of new potatoes (from the plot, in November!) and added a bit of butter to their pan. Then put a ladleful in each soup bowl and spooned over a few potatoes. (ED says, serve each guest a bowl of soup and a saucer of hot potatoes, probably so the potatoes don't all go cold at once because they were added to the soup.)

It was really good - strange but filling and unique. (ED describes it as "ambrosial".) I wouldn't go that far, but... hmm, this beetroot is growing on me.