I made this beet soup yesterday. (I haven't figured out why the color in my blog posts is off, because it really is the prettiest magenta in i-photo.) The recipe I used is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. Of course I had to tweak it a bit, so I'm printing my version of her recipe. One of the things I love about this recipe is that it uses the whole beet, greens and all. The white blob in the middle is a tablespoon of yogurt, but you could use sour cream if you prefer.
I started with the basic vegetable stock:
1 large onion
2 large carrots
2 celery ribs, including some of the leaves
1/2 red onion (just because I had it)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
8 or so parsley branches
6 thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
2 bay leaves
Scrub the veggies and chop them roughly into 1-inch chunks. Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the vegetables, yeast, garlic, and herbs and cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The more color they get, the richer the flavor of the stock. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain.
I used to feel wasteful composting all those veggies after I strained the soup, but all the vitamins, minerals, and veggie goodness is now in the stock; I'm really only discarding some fiber and believe me, I get plenty of that!
6 cups veggie stock
3 or 4 beets with their greens, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 med. sized onion, finely diced
2 leeks, white part only, diced
4 med. lg. carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch slices
1 med. potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tbs. butter (or olive oil)
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
Sour cream or drained yogurt
In a soup pot over medium heat, cook the onions and leeks in the butter until soft, about 7 minutes, stirring now and then. Add the beets, carrots, potato, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add your vegetable stock; it should be about 6 cups. Simmer until the beets and carrots are tender, about 10 or 15 minutes, adding the beet greens during the last 5 minutes. Taste for salt. You can add 1 tsp. of lemon juice to bring up the flavor if you like. Serve the soup sprinkled with dill, seasoned with pepper, with a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt in each bowl.
Morgan and I loved this soup. I only wish I'd doubled the recipe because it didn't make as much as I would have liked. I'm going to make a very large batch of vegetable stock this weekend so that I can freeze some and have it on hand, making soup preparation very simple. Home made stock is so much better than store bought! If a recipe calls for chicken stock, I think using canned or boxed soup is ok, but with vegetarian stock-based soups, you can really taste an enormous difference. I just make the stock one day, and the soup the next day.
So if you like beets, you should try this delicious soup. And if you don't already own it, get yourself a copy of Deborah Madison's excellent cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.