I’m often amazed how some of my recipes, like this Beetroot Horseradish Risotto, have been created around a macaron!
The other day I was walking on the sweet side in Paris with a lovely group of Americans. It’s a chocolate and pastry tour and, as you can imagine, I tend to become particularly passionate when somebody asks about macarons.
One question has remained with me this week: “Do you like savoury macarons – and when would you eat them?” Well, I love them – especially if they have a wee kick to them.
By adding some heated spice to the filling, the intriguing sweetness of the macaron shell puts out the fire. Have you tried these beetroot (or beet) and horseradish macarons? (The recipe is in the book). They’re great with bubbles or red wine as an apéritif but they also go so well with one of my favourite risotto recipes, ideal as a starter. It’s also a wonderful talking point at the table: once friends thought I was serving a steak tartare – as an ex-vegetarian, I was just as surprised as they were!
Normally you’d expect the beetroot to give the risotto or macarons an earthy taste but the result is instead ever so delicately sweet. Try these beetroot and chocolate fondants – it’s not unlike the carrot cake idea or chocolate and zucchini/courgette cakes, where the vegetable just acts as a fun and extra squidgy ingredient. But here, in a gluten-free macaron, it’s a colourful change!
This light risotto blushes with the beetroot, taking on the most vibrant natural red colour. The added touch of creamy horseradish just gives it that je ne sais quoi. It’s healthy, cheap to make, and ideal to serve at any time of year – and great fun for the holiday season.
Beetroot Horseradish Risotto
Serves 4 as a starter (or 2 as a main course)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes (+ 45 minutes if using raw beetroots)
400g pre-cooked beetroot / beet (or 2 small raw beetroots)
1 tbsp olive oil
knob of unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
250g risotto rice (carnaroli)
150g ( or glass) white wine
800g vegetable or chicken stock
60g freshly grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsps crème fraîche
2 tsps horseradish sauce
1. Wearing rubber gloves to avoid staining your hands, peel and grate the beetroot. (If using raw beetroot, rub on coarse sea salt and wrap them up in aluminium foil and bake at 180°C for 45 minutes and leave to cool.)
2. Fry the onion in the olive oil and butter over a medium heat until softened (do not brown) for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and stir until softened for another couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are all coated and shiny.
3. Add the wine until it has disappeared into the rice. Gradually add the hot stock, a ladle at a time and stir continuously until each time the stock has soaked in. Cook for 15-17 minutes. After about 10 minutes, stir in the grated beetroot.
4. When the rice is cooked, stir in the crème fraîche, parmesan and horseradish and take off the heat. Add salt (fleur de sel) and pepper to taste.
Serve in small pasta bowls, decorate with fresh herbs and more parmesan shavings and a mini beetroot and horseradish macaron (recipe on page 103 of Mad About Macarons!)
Pair with a fruity red wine with a hint of spice such as a Médoc, Pinot Noir from Alsace, Côte-du-Rhône – or a chilled rosé from Provence.
“Santé“ – to your good health!