This delicious starter has been on the Pigeon Cottage Christmas menu for many years and never fails to please. If you’ve only ever eaten beetroot swamped in malt vinegar before, be prepared for how oven roasting transforms the flavour into something sweet and delicious. Coupled with a soft white lemony goat’s cheese and topped with golden walnuts it’s a make-ahead winner.
- 4 large unpeeled beetroot, rinsed and dried.
- 125g log of soft white goat’s cheese such as Sainsbury’s Abergervenny Goat Cheese
- 12 walnuts
- A handful of fresh thyme leaves.
- Dressing: a teaspoon of French mustard, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, a pinch of sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon of honey. A dash of pomegranate molasses in the dressing is also delicious if you have any in the cupboard.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Wrap the whole beetroot up in a loose foil parcel, place it on a baking tray and roast for about an hour and a half. Set aside to cool once it’s cooked.
- Put the dressing ingredients in a small screw-top jar and give it a good shake to emulsify the oil, mustard, honey and vinegar. Add the pomegranate molasses if using. Check and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- To prepare the beetroot, it’s best to wear rubber gloves so that your hands don’t get stained. The skins should slip off really easily. If you prep it over the foil you can just discard the leftovers in it and then there’s no mess. Slice a little off the top and bottom of each beet so that they are flat and then cut them carefully into small even dice. Put them into a mixing bowl and toss the dice in the dressing so that they are coated evenly. You can make this part the day before if you want to and assemble the finished dish the following day.
- To serve, spoon equal amounts of the beetroot into 4 metal rings to create the stack on each plate in the picture or spoon neatly and directly onto each individual plate. Top each serving with pieces of the goat’s cheese, chopped walnuts, a scattering of fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
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