Roast Beetroot Dip

The Brooding Architect got me a food processor for my last birthday. I know a lot of women would be horrified to receive electrical appliances as presents, but this was a gift after my own heart.

To put in bluntly, my food processor is shit hot. I have no idea why I struggled blending up soups and breadcrumbs for nearly 10 years in my crappy blender – a remnant from my student days. I blame my reluctance to fork out on a flashy blender years ago on my (half) Chinese cheapness.

One of my favourite dips to whip up in the new food processor is a roast beetroot dip, which is inspired by my love of the pancar dip at one of my local Turkish haunts, Alasya.

Ingredients

  • A large fresh beetroot (or 3 or 4 fresh baby beets)
  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • Pinch of castor sugar
  • ½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lemon (adjust for personal taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Making this dip takes a little organisation, but the end result is well worth the effort!

The night before you need this dip:

  1. Scrub the beetroot clean and wrap it in aluminum foil. Pop in a 190 degree oven until tender. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the beetroot, but it generally takes between 30 and 40 minutes for a large beetroot. One the beetroot is cooked, let it cool. I generally just leave it on the bench and pop the whole foil parcel in the fridge before I go to bed.
  2. Rest a sieve (or your colander) inside a bowl. The bowl has to be big enough so that the seive is not touching the bottom and there is room for liquid to collect. Grab a clean Chux (or Aldi imitation Chux wipe, which I use) and sit the Chux wipe inside the sieve. Spoon all of the yoghurt into the sieve and tie up the Chux with string. Put the bowl in the fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). At the end of this process all of the excess liquid will drain out of the yoghurt and you will be left with labna (a soft yoghurt cheese).

The day you need the dip:

  1. Assemble your food processor.
  2. Slide the beetroot skin off the roasted beetroot. As the beetroot is cool this will be really easy to do. Some people like to use gloves for this, as if you don’t work quickly you can end up with beetroot stained fingers. Throw the peeled beetroot into the food processor.
  3. Crush up the fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle. Throw the crushed fennel seeds into the food processor.
  4. Add labna (drained yogurt), oinch of castor sugar and salt and pepper to taste to the food processor. Blend together.
  5. Juice the lemon. Add food processor and blend. You might want to add the lemon in stages – tasting between each addition.
  6. Place in bowl – garnish with extra fennel seeds if you want it to look fancy for visitors. Serve with toasted Turkish bread (or fennel and cucumber slices if you are – feeling virtuous) and a cleansing ale.

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