Monty Don’s beetroot soup

Earthy, economical and a fabulous colour, this is one of my favourite soups

Serves 4
•     1.5kg beetroot
•     A few sprigs thyme
•     2 tbsp olive oil
•     1 medium onion, finely diced
•     1 litre light chicken or vegetable stock
•     2 bay leaves
•     Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Scrub the beetroot well, cut the tops off and trim the roots. Leave their skins on and cut into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Place in a roasting tin with the thyme, season well with salt and pepper and pour over 1 tbsp oil. Toss to coat. Cover tightly with foil and roast for about 40 minutes, until soft. When the beetroot is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin.
2 Warm the remaining oil in a pan over a medium-low heat and sauté the onion until soft, about 15 minutes.
3 Place the cooked beetroot in a food processor with the onion and blitz until smooth. Scrape the puree into a pan, then add the stock or water and the bay leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and season.
4 Serve with dollops of yoghurt or crème fraîche and a sprinkling of chives.

From The Home Cookbook, Monty and Sarah Don, Bloomsbury, £25

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