Earthy beetroot, sweet apple and firey horseradish make this dumpling-topped vegetarian soup recipe a great supper contender.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1¼ litres vegetable stock
1kg beetroot, peeled and chopped into 1.5cm cubes (see tip)
35g fresh horseradish, peeled and finely grated
½ small bunch fresh dill
1 sweet eating apple, chopped
Lemon juice to taste
Crème fraîche to serve
For the herb dumplings
150g self-raising flour, plus extra to dust
½ tsp fine salt
75g cold butter, cubed, plus extra to grease
½ small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped, plus sprigs to serve
½ small bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
½ small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
01.Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook gently for 10-12 minutes until very soft.
02.Add the stock and the beetroot to the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes until the beetroot is tender enough to pierce easily with the tip of a sharp knife.
03.Remove the saucepan from the heat, uncover and leave to cool slightly. Whizz the soup in a blender, in batches, until smooth (see tip), adding the horseradish, dill and apple to one of the batches. Return to the pan, then taste and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
04.Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas 6. To make the dumplings, sift the flour and salt into a food processor, then add the butter and pulse briefly until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Remove the blade from the food processor, then use your fingers to stir in the herbs. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time, mixing it in with your fingertips, until the dough just binds together (you’ll need 2-3 tbsp). Take care not to overwork it. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Pinch off pieces the size of a 50p coin and roll into balls (you should end up with about 34 dumplings).
05.Lightly grease a large baking sheet, then put the dumplings on it, spaced a little apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly puffed and golden. Warm the soup if needed, then serve in bowls topped with a dollop of crème fraîche, the herb dumplings and extra dill sprigs.