This vibrant soup is rich with the earthiness of slow-roasted
beetroot, bacon and cabbage.
4large beetroot (1.3kg)50 gmlard150 gmbacon, finely chopped1onion, finely chopped2garlic cloves, finely chopped1.5 litres (6 cups)chicken stock270 gmwhite cabbage (about ¼), finely chopped1carrot, finely chopped1 tspred wine vinegarTo taste:cayenne pepperTo serve:finely grated fresh horseradish and crème fraîcheCrisp rye crackers375 gm (3 cups)light rye flour, plus extra for dusting7 gmdried yeast (1 sachet)For brushing:olive oilFor scattering:sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200C. Wrap each beetroot in foil, roast until tender (1-1½ hours). Set aside to cool, then peel, coarsely chop and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat lard in a large saucepan over low heat, add bacon, onion and garlic and sauté until very tender (15-20 minutes). Add stock, cabbage, carrot and vinegar and simmer over medium heat until vegetables are very tender (40-45 minutes). Add roast beetroot, season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper, cook until beetroot is very tender (10 minutes), then purée with a hand-held blender until very smooth. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, for crisp rye crackers, preheat oven to 150C. Combine flour, yeast, 250ml water and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl, knead to combine. Divide dough in half, roll out each half between 2 sheets of baking paper until 2mm thick, then set aside, covered with a tea towel, to rest (1 hour). Transfer to oven trays, brush lightly with oil, dust lightly with flour and scatter with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Bake until starting to crisp (25-35 minutes), then increase oven to 180C, bake until golden and crisp (5 minutes).
Sprinkle soup with extra cayenne pepper, top with horseradish and a spoonful of crème fraîche and serve with crisp rye crackers.