Spring is slowly making its way across the continent, and as it does, the earth softens enough to finally harvest those lovely beets we planted with anticipation last autumn. Finally: it’s time once again for the deep, earthy richness of this amazing root. I eat beets every which way, from grated raw on a salad, sweet-sour pickled, or buttered-and-baked. But one of my most favorite ways to enjoy this dense globe of nutrients is in a smooth, deeply rich soup.
This recipe is a favorite from my former restaurant, Imagine Coffee House & Catering Co., north of Milwaukee. Imagine Beet Soup was highly anticipated each spring and went up on the menu board as soon as the frost cleared and the first beets of the season were harvested. Most often, my organic egg farmers, Harold and Gerta, would show up with a big bag of the lovely red orbs, signaling that spring had arrived.
This soup rounds out the distinctive beet flavors, so even those who don’t like eating beets straight, often enjoy them in this soup. It’s wonderful served hot, but save this recipe to bring out again when it heats up this summer, because it works beautifully as a chilled soup, as well.
Imagine Beet Soup
- 2 1/2 pounds beets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onion
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots, coarsely chopped
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Add to soup at the very end:
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar,
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- Sour cream for garnish (optional, but really yummy)
1. With gloved hands (beets will stain skin!), peel the beets with a vegetable peeler. With a chef’s knife, cut the beets in half, then lay them flat side down and cut them into large chunks.
2. In a stock pot over medium heat:
- Heat the oil.
- Saute the onion until it is translucent.
- Add the carrots, ginger, and garlic.
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently
3. Next, add beets and liquid…
- Add beets and water or stock.
- Simmer the soup, covered, for 50 minutes.
- Add orange rind, and stir well.
4. In a food processor or blender: puree the soup in batches. Do not attempt blending the soup until it has cooled to room temperature so that steam doesn’t force the lid off and cause a mess (or potential burns–do be careful!)
Adjust seasonings if needed, depending on sweetness of beets.
Transfer the pureed soup to a large pot, and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot or chilled, garnished with a dollop of sour cream, or unsweetened yogurt.
Note: This soup freezes very well.
- The secret ingredient in new icy road melt treatment (kcci.com)
- Lithuanian Cold Beet Soup (foodelite.wordpress.com)
- 6 Powerful Health Benefits Offered by Beets (naturalsociety.com)