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Roasted Beet Soup October 17, 2008

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, food porn, random stuff, soupe du semaine.
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OK, first I’m going to preface this by saying one thing – not all vegetables are created equal. πŸ™„ Encouraged by the delightful deliciousness that was my roasted butternut squash soup a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try my hand at featuring another much-maligned, super good-for-you veggie as the star attraction in soup – beets. Now, I already like beets very much, so it’s no problem for me. But you may recall – some of us don’t get the same thrill from a perfectly-done vegetable. πŸ™„

Anyway, using the squash soup as a starting point, I went to work on my very own beet soup. And just in case you’d like to follow along at home, here is the printable version. πŸ™‚

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So we basically followed the same procedure as for the squash soup – I peeled and chopped a “bunch” of beets (about 4 medium) into about 1-2 inch cubes. Then I peeled and quartered an onion and one apple – I used a Granny Smith – and peeled 4 cloves of garlic. My thinking on the apple was that it would help to kind of tone down the earthiness of the straight beets. And G. Smith is what I usually have in the house, if I have apples hanging around at all. πŸ˜‰ And let’s face it – you really can’t have a vegetable soup without at least a little garlic. 😯

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After tossing with a bit of canola oil (a couple of Tablespoons), I roasted the veggies (plus apple) at 425Β° for about an hour and a half, stirring halfway through.

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And again, just like with the squash soup, once the veggies are soft, we’re going to scrape up the bits of fond, deglaze with a bit of chicken stock, and return to the oven until the liquid is mostly reduced.

PhotobucketAnd just a word to the wise. The apple will cook to, essentially, applesauce, and both beets and apples have an awful lot of sugar. They will stick to the pan. I use a non-stick roasting pan, and, while it inhibits fond production a bit, it does seem to help when it’s time to clean up. Some. Just consider the trade-offs, that’s all. πŸ™„

PhotobucketAgain, we’re going to dump the roasted veggies into a dutch oven or soup pot with about a quart of chicken stock – you could probably use vegetable stock if you wanted to; I just don’t typically keep it on hand, that’s all. Actually, this time, I opted for a large can of store-bought chicken stock rather than the lovely smoked stock we canned. The big cans are slightly more than a quart – about 5 or 6 cups, I think. I could go check, but it’s soup, for crying out loud. πŸ™„ That’s why I said “about a quart.” πŸ˜€

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So, to the stock and veggies in the soup pot, add about half a cup of red wine (that will give the soup some added depth of flavor) and a single peeled and diced potato. That should help add a little more body to the soup. Simmer for about 15 minutes or so, until the potato is completely cooked – obviously, exactly how long will depend on how small a dice the potato was, now won’t it? πŸ˜‰

Once everything is nicely softened, you can hit it with the really cool stick blender. You know, that was one of the first kitchen gadgets Peeps bought for me, and I must say, it is still so awesomely cool! If you don’t have one, I would urge you to put it on your Amazon wish list – you can get a decent one for under $50. And, while you might not use it every day, the days you do use it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. πŸ™‚

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It really is cool!

PhotobucketAt this point, I added a bit of cider vinegar to just perk things up. I also picked a sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped that up, and added it, as well. Can I just say – I absolutely love fresh rosemary. I’ve been using dried rosemary for years, and I like that just fine, too. And I’ve used fresh rosemary, but I don’t remember enjoying it as much as I’ve enjoyed it this year. Whether it’s the particular variety of this plant, my wonderfully sensitive non-smoking palate, or just the satisfaction of having nursed this plant from a baby, I don’t know. And I don’t care. πŸ™‚ I’m just loving this rosemary this year! πŸ˜†

I tasted the soup, and it was good. But I felt that it just needed something. I knew the flavors would mingle and, I don’t know, mature? in the refrigerator, but the earthiness of the beets, while not unpleasant, was just a tad overwhelming, so I thought about it. And I got out a little tasting bowl and experimented.

A bit of heavy cream, like we finished the squash soup? Maybe, but the cream seemed to be overwhelmed by the beets, unless I went nuts and dumped a LOT of cream in. Uh, not with my hips. 😯

A little molasses? Hmm. . . a nice addition to the earthiness, plus it added a bit of sweetness. . . but there was a bit of bitterness that was just less than pleasant. 😦

How about some more vinegar? Again, just something that’s less than pleasant. But the acidity seems to be on the right track.

Lemon. Citrus has some amazing powers, and a splash of lemon juice rarely goes wrong, especially with vegetables. It works and plays well with others, I guess you could say. πŸ™‚

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But I want to really make you sit up and say “hello!” How about some zest? Now that would be, uh, zesty, which is just what I need to complement the beets, I think. So I add the zest and juice from about half a lemon – just enough to get your attention, but not so much as to put you off. Remember, less is more. πŸ˜›

I just shoved the soup into a (stain-resistant) container until time to serve it, then we gently heated it for about 15 minutes, and voilΓ‘! Dinner is served!

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PhotobucketWe picked up a loaf of Marco Polo bread at Wegman’s the other day, and I immediately shoved part of it in the freezer to go with this meal. And yes, I know, we’ve got our own sourdough, and that’s wonderful, and Wegman’s took our liquor store AND photo processing away and I’m still mad at them. But I’ve just always loved their Marco Polo bread, and in a moment of weakness, when I saw the ginormous loaf the other day, I couldn’t resist – all crusty and scabrous-looking on the outside, and deliciously soft and tender on the inside. . . mmmmm. If you don’t have a local Wegman’s, I’m sorry. πŸ˜₯ Maybe you will soon. And if you do, and they don’t offer Marco Polo bread in their bakery, march in there and demand it. Really. It’s that good. πŸ™‚

So the soup. Peeps opted to stir in a spoonful of sour cream, and I must say, it was rather good. πŸ™‚ I, on the other hand, had mine nekkid au naturel. At least I did until I tried it all creamy and delicious-er. 😯

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So, the verdict? It was mixed, I’m afraid. I thought it was wonderful. I loved the earthy beet flavor, paired with the intense rosemary and the bright lemon, then finished with just a dab of sour cream. Wonderful. I’m talking YUM.

And Peeps? Well, he thought it was “different.” And by “different,” he meant “weird.” But remember, he’s not a huge fan of vegetables in general, or beets in particular. πŸ™„

I would definitely make this again – for myself. But for a non-beet lover? Not so much. It’s pretty intense, and if you’re not a fan of beets, you probably won’t care for this. But if you’re already a fan? Hey, go for it! πŸ˜†

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Comments

1. judy - October 17, 2008

Good morning.

I am all caught up now and have become very hungry. I can’t imagine why? πŸ™‚ I would have loved the beet soup. I loves beets too.

Your composter is cool and I am amazed it was easy to put together. Usually stuff like that is a total pain in the arse.

Have a good weekend. The weather here is supposed to be sunny. Good.

2. Mazco - October 17, 2008

Reminds me of the Traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner we had when I was a kid. We started by sharing OpΕ‚atek (it was communion wafer made into flat sheets with Nativity scenes stamped onto them).

For the dinner, no meat allowed, and the menu consisted of Beet soup with uszka (mushroom pockets), pierogi, and herring.

I would shut my bedroom door and stuff towels under it to prevent the smell of the beets and mushrooms cooking. Even now I freak a bit thinking about it.

The only way I could get through dinner was knowing that a ham and egg breakfast on Christmas morning brought back to the real world.

3. Toy Lady - October 17, 2008

Jude – you should try some soup! πŸ˜€ I ended up putting two servings in the freezer for later – now I’m going to have to start eating some of my stashed soups, though – I’ve run out of soup bowls to freeze them in! πŸ˜‰

I think it’s supposed to be decent here, too, this weekend. I hope. I’ve got tomato plants to, uh, lay to rest, I think. πŸ˜₯

And Maz – Mushroom pockets? I didn’t even know mushrooms had pockets. I’d hate to think of what they keep in them. . .

Oh, I just crack myself up sometimes. πŸ˜‰


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