BEET SOUP WITH DILL AND CHIVES
by Renee Behnke and Cynthia Nims
Roasted beets are a favorite vegetable in my house and we use them many ways, especially in salads and in soups such as this one. I shop for beets with the greens still on for the best flavor. This soup can be served warm or cold; we tend to prefer it warm, when the flavors are more pronounced.
Makes 8 to 10 Servings
• 6 medium red beets (about 1½ pounds), trimmed and scrubbed
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
• 6 cups chicken stock or top-quality chicken broth
• 2 large carrots, diced
• 1 medium yellow onion, diced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
• 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
• 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Rub the beets with the olive oil and place in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast for about 1¼ hours, or until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Set aside to cool.
3. While the beets are roasting, place the potatoes in a medium pan of salted water. Bring the water just to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are about half cooked. Drain well and set aside.
4. In a large pan, combine 5 cups of the stock, the carrots, and onion and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium- low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Scoop the vegetables with a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside, reserving the stock in the pan.
5. When the roasted beets are cool enough to handle, use your fingers to slip off the skins. Dice the beets. Puree half of the diced beets with about 1/2 cup of the remaining stock in a blender or food processor. Add the beet puree to the stock. Puree the carrots and onions with the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and then add to the soup. Add the remaining beets and the potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, until the soup is well heated, the potatoes are tender, and the flavors have blended. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper if needed.
6. To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls, top with dollops of sour cream, and sprinkle with the chives and dill.
Menu Ideas: A cup of this lovely soup would be an ideal starter before a simple supper of grilled steak.
Do-Ahead Tips: The beets can be roasted a day or two in advance, peeled, and refrigerated, wrapped in plastic. The soup can be made 1 day ahead and gently reheated before serving. The herb garnish can also be chopped in advance, preferably not more than a few hours. Top with lightly dampened paper towels and refrigerate until needed.