I’m not a big fan of crisps and dips partially because there’s a studenty assumption that a pot of pink tarasmalata, a few crisps and a glass of warm white wine makes a social occasion. Secondly because there’s something vaguely unhygienic about it all. However I like the dark and savoury flavour of these beetroot crisps dipped in chilli chocolate sauce, plus the quirkiness of the blend does make them feel festive. As for being unhygienic – use a napkin.
Possible wine matches are Pinot Noir, Merlot and Rhône varietals (e.g. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre). However I bet the top match would be a Champagne with a high proportion of Pinot Noir and little or no dosage (sugar). Two of my favorites in this style are: Champagne Alexandre Bonnet 2004 non-dosage Pinot Noir and Philipponnat, Royale Réserve, Non-Dosé NV. Both are lean, have a real red fruit character and a lovely effervescent lift. Now that really would make a special occasion.
Beetroot Crisps with Chocolate Chilli Sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oil
2 small chilli
Good shake mixed herbs
2 tea spoons honey
1 table spoon plain flour
1 table spoon cocoa
1 pint vegetable stock
For the crisps
Peel and slice the beetroot thinly and evenly preferably using a mandolin.
Deep fry in hot vegetable oil for a couple of minutes until crispy.
Drain on kitchen paper.
For the sauce
Finely chop the onions, garlic and chillis.
Sweat the onions, garlic and chilli slowly for around 10 minutes.
Add the spices, herbs and honey.
Then add the flour and cocoa and blend to a paste.
Slowly add the stock, stirring all the time, then leave to simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce should be thick but add more stock/water if it is too gloupy.
Serve the sauce hot in a bowl on a platter with the crisps heaped around it.