While purées can be very trendy, they are rather more than just a splash of colour masquerading as a sauce. Beyond their decorative value, they are very useful as a flavouring base. This beet and herb blend is perfect for a risotto – the colours are bold and dynamic while the flavour of the earthy beet complements the freshness of the herbs. Very easy to make, show off your culinary skills and use it as a gastrique – it pairs nicely with a micro salad, goat cheese and walnuts.
Beet and Herb Purée
3- 4 whole beets
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced
2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
5 basil leaves, chopped
1 sprig of tarragon, chopped
1 sprig of thyme, chopped
2 ladles of vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C. Cover a baking sheet with coarse sea salt. Wash the beets and then individually wrap them in aluminum foil. Roast the beets until fork tender, approx 45 min. Unwrap and peel them, set aside. (or, use precooked beets if you can’t be bothered!)
- Heat up some butter in a medium sauté pan and sauté the shallots and the garlic until they begin to caramelize. Add in the chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further minute and then deglaze with white wine.
- Once the beets have cooled down, slice them finely and add to the shallots. Using a hand blender, purée everything together with 2 ladles of vegetable stock. Adding more as necessary (you can use water if you don’t have stock on hand).
- Pass the purée through a sieve. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add some more fresh herbs if you wish. For use as a gastrique, put it in a squeeze bottle and refrigerate for 20 minutes.