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Sometimes the colours that nature comes up with blow me away. Take the ruby red beetroot and red cabbage in this soup; they're as brilliant as the dahlias that grow in my backyard. So, too, is their taste, and when combined with sauteed onion, fennel and celery, plus cumin, coriander and caraway, the result is simply luscious. 

Ruby-red beetroot soup

Serves 6
3 tablespoons extra-virgin
olive oil
1 brown onion, diced 
1 fennel bulb, diced 
2 stalks celery, diced 
sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
pinch of chilli flakes
1.5 litres bone broth
225g red cabbage, chopped 
3 beetroot, peeled and diced 
2 tablespoons full-fat plain yoghurt, for garnish 
2 tablespoons chopped dill, for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion, fennel, celery and ½ teaspoon salt and sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, caraway seeds and chilli flakes and stir until well combined. Pour in 125 ml of the broth to deglaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the cabbage and ¼ teaspoon salt and stir. Add the beetroot and another ¼ teaspoon salt, stir, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the remaining broth and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the beetroot is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

In a blender, puree the soup in batches until very smooth, each time adding the cooking liquid first and then the vegetables. Pour the soup back into the pot and heat gently. Taste; you may want to add a pinch more salt. Serve garnished with the yoghurt and dill, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Cook’s note: This is a wonderful soup that can be served hot or cold. If it’s been sitting in the refrigerator, give it a taste. You may want to perk it up with a spritz of lemon or orange juice. 

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Image and recipe reproduced with kind permission from Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz (Murdoch Books RRP $35.00)