This week I got a small veg box with roots especially because I knew it contained beetroot and I had a particular recipe in mind. I adapted this original recipe for Beetroot Gratin which I got from my very well used copy of the Riverford Farm Cook Book, by adding horseradish to it when I was cooking it to serve with a piece of roast beef for Sunday lunch. It is a fantastic combination and really a truly delicious dish. It is always a favourite at my Riverford Lunches or the SuperClubs and in fact at the last SuperClub in Putney’s St Marys that I served it, at a man came up to me afterwards and said “I don’t like beetroot and I do not like horseradish but I love that!”
What I also adore about this dish is the colour that results from the combination of deep purple beetroot and cream creating a splendid, shocking pink. So I was a little dismayed when my beetroot this week turned out to be yellow! Luckily I had a few of the usual variety left in my fridge from last week so I did a mix, purely so I could get some of that pink. And with the mixture of all the colours, I was even more pleased with the results than ever.
I do love all the different coloured beetroot that are around now a days but they do tend to be a little drier than the purple variety, so I have added a little extra cream in this recipe. If you are only using purple, then you could possibly cut back a little. Finally, if you can’t get hold of fresh horseradish you can use a very good quality jar of horseradish sauce. I recommend Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference made with fresh cream. You basically want to look for one with a high content of horseradish (at least 28%) and not too much else. Remove one tablespoon of cream for every tablespoon of sauce you add.
Beetroot and Horseradish Gratin
1kg beetroot, peeled
300ml double cream
1 stick fresh horseradish, peeled and grated (watch your eyes)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat an oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3.
Thinly slice the beetroot either by hand, with the slicing attachment of a food processor or with a mandolin; it should be about 2–3mm thick. Mix a couple of tablespoons of horseradish with the cream in a small pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Taste. It should be really quite potent. It has to flavour all the beetroot so add more horseradish if necessary. Put the sliced beetroot in a bowl and mix thoroughly so the beetroot is coated with cream. Arrange in a 30cm gratin dish, cover with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.