This bright red soup looks dramatic garnished with dill, lemon and cucumber – and, even better, is delicious and wonderfully refreshing served cool on a hot Christmas Day. But, if the weather cools down, or you’re visiting relatives in the northern hemisphere, you can also serve this soup piping hot.
- 6 raw beetroot
- 6 cups fat-free chicken stock
- 1 continental cucumber, peeled, diced
- 2 tbsp snipped chives or chopped dill
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
- 1 cup light sour cream, natural yoghurt or buttermilk
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced, to garnish
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Add the beetroot to a saucepan and fill with enough water to cover. Simmer the beetroot for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat and drain. When cool enough to handle, use hands to slip off the skins. This should be easy if the beetroot are cooked sufficiently.
Purée two quartered beetroot with half the chicken stock in a food processor and dice the others. Add the remaining chicken stock until desired consistency. In a bowl, combine the puréed beetroot and stock with the diced beetroot, cucumber and chives or dill, reserving a little for garnishing. Stir well and chill.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in three-quarters of the sour cream or yoghurt, or all of the buttermilk. Have some soup bowls ready and chilled, then place 1–2 ice cubes in each. Ladle in the soup and garnish with any or all of the following: the remaining sour cream or yoghurt, lemon slices and the reserved garnishes.
If serving the soup hot, heat the beetroot soup with the diced beetroot and garnish with the lemon, cucumber, sour cream and chives or dill.
• This is perfect for an outdoor Christmas picnic – take it in one or two thermos flasks or a suitable container with a lid and keep it chilled in an esky.
Recipe from Margaret Fulton Christmas by Margaret Fulton, with photographs by Mark Roper. Published by Hardie Grant Books.