I’ve loved beets ever since I was a toddler. In my family, we ate beets in a variety of ways from roasted, to shredded, to boiled, to pickled. And guess what? Nobody thought they tasted like dirt. To us, the beets were one of the main staple ingredients for soups and salads. But maybe that’s because I grew up in Russia.
Not until my move to the United States did I encounter people who despised beets, with passion.
As my love for beets continues to grow, I look for new ways and recipes to incorporate this brilliant root into my diet. I’ve discovered the golden beet, the striped beet, and I’ve loved each and every single one of them.
In the last few years, I’ve also tried raw beets. Either thinly sliced or shaved, marinated in olive oil with a dash of salt, they make for a perfect addition to salads.
I invite you to look for the book at your local bookstore or library to get the exact recipe. Here, I’ll offer the general method and some thoughts.
For the soup, Hugh instructs to first boil and then roast the beets until perfectly tender. My recommendation is to stick to one cooking method. Either simmer the beets until tender or roast them. The double cooking method took extra time and equipment and in my opinion landed little to the recipe.
Once tender, the beets are added to sauteed onions and celery with chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. So far so good, but where’s the garlic, Hugh? If you are like me, and love garlic, here’s where you’d add a clove or two.
Also, keep in mind, that you can easily make this soup vegetarian and vegan by using vegetable stock (preferably homemade) in place of chicken stock. Also, use oil in place of butter for sauteing the vegetables.
For the final step in making this soup, you puree the vegetables until perfectly smooth. To take this up a level, Hugh suggests passing the soup through a fine sieve. Do as you wish, but I thought the soup felt quite nicely on the palate without being strained.
And lastly, I really enjoyed the soup chilled. Garnished with a boiled cold egg and celery cream, the soup was refreshing, breathtakingly gorgeous and well liked by many of the members of my cookbook club.
Don’t forget the salt!
I hope this recipe inspires you to try cooking with beets.