Goats’ cheese is one of life’s little marvels. Just like goats, goats’ cheese comes in all shapes and sizes, and in flavours from mild to incredibly strong. Young goats’ cheese is often mild and soft, while mature goats’ cheese can be harder and stronger in taste. It’s amazing how Mother Nature works, because in the Cher and Loire departments of France they not only produce some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the world (Sancerre and Menetou-Salon are but two examples), they also raise goats and produce brilliant goats’ cheese. And I can tell you from my vast experience in the matter that the two go beautifully together!
Beetroot, or beets as they are known in the U.S., is/are one of my favourite root vegetables. The earthy flavour creates a connection with the ground it was grown in. My Mom used to grow beets in our vegetable garden, and when they were harvested towards the end of the summer we would always eat them hot at dinner time. It was only relatively recently that I ate them cold in a salad and delighted in this new taste sensation.
One of ThermoHubby John’s favourite taste combinations is cold cooked beetroot with mature cheddar cheese. We often serve it in slices as a canapé, either as a flavour duo or with both slices served on a Ritz Cracker for an added buttery flavour
You may recall that we organise wine tasting dinners to raise funds for the renovation of Tongham Village Hall. Well, this time I needed a great flavour combination to go with goat’s cheese to enhance a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. I don’t know how he does it, but John’s palate came up with beetroot, and our dish became shots of Thyme-infused Goats’ Cheese Mousse with Beetroot Purée. Both of the components could easily be done in my trusty Thermomix, with great results.
As its name implies, beetroot is a root vegetable. It is red and hard when raw, and it retains a decided firmness even when cooked. So when I was experimenting with my purée, even after about three minutes blending in the Thermomix at Speed 10, my beetroot purée had a certain graininess about it. I needed some expert advice, so I turned to Twitter – the only place I know of where little old me can have direct access to top chefs. Lo and behold, my Tweet was answered by the one and only Simon Hulstone (@Hulstone) who advised me to add some cooked rice to the beetroot to make it nice and smooth.
That brilliant suggestion and John’s addition of a pinch of Szechuan Pepper to the mixture resulted in a smooth and deliciously earthy purée which perfectly offset not only the thyme and goats cheese flavours in the mousse but also the minerally taste of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
As expected, Thermomix played a big role in producing this dish. Without Thermomix, I would have had several pots and pans and appliances to wash up, I would have had to sieve the purée and lose some in the process, everything would have taken quite a bit longer, and it wouldn’t have been of the same high quality. So thank you, Thermomix!
Madame Thermomix’s Shots of Thyme-Infused Goats’ Cheese Mousse and Beetroot Purée
Makes 16 shots or verrines as an amuse-bouche, or 4 starter-sized servings.
Ingredients for the Mousse
100 ml double cream
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
150 g French mild goats’ cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
- Infuse double cream with thyme 5 minutes/90° C/Speed 2; pour into shallow dish and cool completely. Chill in fridge at least 30 minutes.
- Mix the goats’ cheese 20 seconds/speed 5. Scrape sides of TM bowl and insert butterfly whisk. With blades running at Speed 4, pour infused cream through hole in lid and continue whisking about 2 minutes or until peaks start to form and just lightly hold.
- Put into piping bag and set in fridge. Tip: Stand your piping bag upright in a tall glass to fill and place upright in the door of the fridge to chill.
Ingredients for the Beetroot Purée
4 x cooked peeled beetroot (one 250 g package)
50 g cooked rice (steamed in your internal steamer basket, of course!)
Dash of ground Szechuan pepper
¼ tsp salt
Put all ingredients into the TM bowl and chop 10 seconds/Speed 5. Scrape sides of bowl and lid with spatula, then purée 5 minutes/Speed 10 or until you have a smooth, silky purée.
To assemble, layer beetroot purée on the bottom of your shot glasses or martini glasses and goats cheese mousse on top. I used a squeeze bottle with a small tip for the beetroot purée and a piping bag for the mousse for a steady hand and tidy results! Sprinkle with a touch of ground Szechuan pepper and serve with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
Bon appétit !