I love a celebration: a reason to gather and have a few sherbets and share food with friends and family. This weekend sees friends returning to the neighbourhood after five long years away. Okay, it was only a few suburbs away but it is good to have them “home” and just a street away. Our boys were besties at childcare and have the sort of friendship that just picks up from when they last saw each other – precious.
So I have two options as a friend. I could be up there right this minute helping to schlep boxes and unpack, or I can organise neighbourhood drinks. Pretty obvious choice really.
Now, let me confess I have a few vegies that I am crazy about. Cauliflower, peas, green beans and beetroot. I love beetroot! As part of a roast dinner, in a salad, Zia’s beetroot relish, even that tinned stuff (that really bears little taste resemblance to beetroot) as part of a burger And this dip. The sweetness of the beetroot, with the smokiness of the cumin and the freshness of the yoghurt and mint.
My first beetroot dip was a happy accident. I had served a beetroot salad with a yoghurt mint dressing for friends, only to discover not everyone shares my passion for this veg. So I blitzed the remaining salad the next day, playing with the ingredients and here we have it.
So to make this beautiful dip.
Choose smaller beetroot. If you select larger ones, just cut them in half or quarters so that they cook faster. Trim up the spindly ends and place on a doubled over large piece of foil. You are going to make a parcel with this so don’t skimp.
Add the oil, vinegar, thyme, garlic and season before wrapping up tightly. Pop the parcel on a baking tray and into a preheated moderate oven for 1 hour. The beetroot is cooked when you can pierce with a skewer. If they are still firm, rewrap and place back in oven for an extra five minutes.
Remove from oven and open the parcel. Rescue that garlic clove! Allow the beetroot to cool (be patient or you will burn your fingers!) Once cooled the skin will just rub away from the beetroot. It is probably best to wear gloves whilst you do this (types she with the stained fingers).
Dice the beetroot and place in the bowl of a food processor with the mint, lemon juice, the rescued roasted garlic clove, cumin, coriander and 1/3 cup of the greek yoghurt. (Now can I just say, that in the past few weeks I have discovered Tamar Valley Greek Yoghurt – so thick, creamy and delicious that I have become addicted. Give it a go I don’t think you will be disappointed, but any greek yoghurt is fine) Process until smooth, then have a look at that gorgeous colour you have created!
Now for a taste. The extra 1/3 cup of yoghurt is now up to you. Yes, that’s right, you have the control. I usually find an extra tablespoon is needed to improve consistency. As I prefer the beetroot taste to shine through, I stop there. If you want a milder, creamier dip, add in a tablespoon of yoghurt at a time until you have the taste and consistency that you are looking for.
I’ll be serving mine with some toasted pita chips just out of the oven and some crudités. I hope you enjoy
- 1 bunch of small beetroots, about 400-500 grams
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tbs oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup mint leaves
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- juice of half a lemon, about 2 tbs
- 1/3 - 2/3 greek yoghurt
- Trim ends of beetroots and if they are larger in size, cut in half.
- Place on a large doubled sheet of alfoil, drizzling with il and vinegar and adding the garlic clove and thyme. Season with salt and pepper
- Wrap tightly to form a bundle and place in a preheated moderate oven.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until beetroots are easily pierced with a skewer.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Retain garlic clove. Peel beetroots by rubbing away skin.
- Dice beetroot and place in bowl of a food processor. Add retained garlic, mint, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and 1/3 cup of yoghurt.
- Process until smooth.
- Taste the dip, adding extra yoghurt to achieve your desired taste and texture.
- Serve with pita chips, crackers, corn chips or crudités