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Roasted sweet beet relish

Pam loves the sweet, earthy flavour of beetroot and hates to see it swamped in strong tasting vinegar, as so often happens. This light preserve is quite a different proposition: roasting the young roots really concentrates their robust flavour, while the sharp pungency of horseradish adds a liveliness to the sweet beet.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.

For the tomato purée, halve the tomatoes and place them skin side down on a baking tray. Sprinkle with the salt, garlic and olive oil. Roast for an hour or so, on the bottom shelf of the oven, then remove. Rub through a sieve, or pass through a mouli or food mill, to remove the skins and pips – you'll end up with about 300ml of intensely flavoured purée.

Meanwhile, put the beetroot into a baking dish and trickle with a little oil. Roast, above the tomatoes, for 1–1½ hours (longer if necessary) until the skins are blistered, blackened and loosened. Leave to cool a little before peeling. You'll find the skins will slide off easily. Coarsely grate the beetroot (a food processor makes this job easy).

Put the sugar, vinegars, onion and horseradish into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a couple more minutes. Finally, add the grated beetroot and cook for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Transfer to sterilised jars and seal with vinegar-proof lids.

Use within a year. Refrigerate once opened.

Serving suggestions

Serve this summery relish alongside smoked mackerel. It's also fantastic in sandwiches with cold meats.

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Makes 5 x 225g jars:

  • 1kg tomatoes
  • 2 level tsp sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 1kg young, small beetroot, trimmed
  • A little olive oil
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50g freshly grated horseradish root

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Preserves Handbook