Friday, December 21, 2012

Beet Soup (not Borscht)

When the weather turns cold, I think of soup.  Soup's been on my mind a lot lately with the thermometer dipping below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

There are many wonderful soups, but few are as exquisitely beautiful as beet soup.  It's intense magenta color belies a mild and slightly sweet taste that plays nicely with many different flavor enhancers and garnishes.

Best of all, it's a cinch to make.  Simply saute some onion, peel and chop some beets and a small amount of russet potato; simmer everything in water or broth with salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice, if desired; puree; and voila, it's soup.

You can use a standard blender, immersion blender or food processor to puree the beet soup to a smooth consistency.  Below are the ingredients and amounts I use; feel free to double or halve this recipe.

1-2 t olive oil
1/2 C chopped onion
3 medium red beets, peeled and quartered
1 medium russet potato, peeled and quartered
4-5 C water
1 bay leaf
1/2 t salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
juice of 1 fresh orange (optional)

1.  In a medium stock pot, saute the onions in the olive oil until translucent.

2.  Add the peeled and quartered beets and potato, 4 C water, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.  Cover and simmer until beets and potato are tender, about 20 minutes.

3.  Cool slightly, until easy to handle.  Remove the bay leaf.  Then puree in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary, until smooth.  Add more water for a thinner soup.

4.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if necessary.  If desired, stir in the juice of half a fresh orange.  Taste and add more fresh orange juice if desired.

Serve warm or hot.  Garnish with crumbled goat cheese, snipped dill, or chopped parsley.  Lemon juice is a nice, though slightly more tart, alternative to orange juice.

For a richer soup, you can substitute broth for all or part of the water.  Chicken broth, beef broth, or veggie broth are all fine.

You can make this soup from golden beets instead of red beets.  It will be just as delicious, but won't have that fabulous deep magenta color.

Remember to compost the peels and rinds.

Today's bounty included:

From County Line Harvest South:  Spring onions, rainbow carrots, arugula, and lacinato kale;

From Jimenez Family Farm:  Garlic, broccoli, cabbage, beets, winter squash, russet potatoes, romaine lettuce, spinach, cilantro, leeks, and chard;

From K and K Ranch:  Oro Blanco grapefruit and Pink Lady apples.

Happy Holidays everyone!


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