Beetroot soup with mackerel

by Kathy Slack

Velvety soup with a crisp mackerel and breadcrumb topping

A simple beetroot soup topped with toasted breadcrumbs and the unexpected addition of smoked mackerel.


500g beetroot
80g fresh breadcrumbs
10g butter
1 sprig of thyme
2 smoked mackerel fillets
4 tbsp creme fraiche


Pre-heat the oven to 190C.

Wrap the beetroot tightly in tin foil and roast in the oven for a good 2 hours, or until a skewer can be pushed through the middle without effort. The beetroot must be well cooked through. Remove from the oven, open the parcel and, once cool enough to handle, peel the beetroot.

Chop the cooked beetroot into chunks and put in a blender with 300ml water, salt and pepper. Blitz until smooth, adding more water if needed to create a velvety smooth soup. You can use a stick blender if you prefer, but be prepared to clean down the kitchen of the inevitable beetroot blood splattered far and wide.

Tip the soup into a pan and warm over a low heat without boiling. Taste when warm and adjust the seasoning.

For the crumble topping, pop the breadcrumbs, butter and thyme leaves into a food processor. Peel the skin off 1 of the mackerel fillets and flake it into the processor too. Season with salt and pepper and whizz until well combined.

Now get a large frying pan on a medium heat and toast the mixture until golden brown. Leave it unattended at your peril, as the crumbs burn easily.

To serve, pour the hot soup into warmed bowls. Swirl in a spoon of creme fraiche, add a few flakes of mackerel on top and sprinkle over the crumble. Serve quickly or the crumble will go soft.

Recipe: Kathy Slack