Thursday, August 19, 2010

Golden Beet Experiment

Remember those beets in the photo from me at the farmers’ market on Sunday? They were so gorgeous, but I had no idea what I was going to do with them. When I was growing up, most of our vegetables came from a can. So you can imagine why I developed an aversion to beets. Canned beets are just not on a list of most people’s favorite foods. I really only learned to LOVE beets when we ate borscht over and over and over again, every single day on a trip to Poland in the early 1990’s. Since then, I usually roast them with other vegetables or put them in a salad. Sometimes I make borscht.

Although the weather is unusually cool already, I’m just not ready to commit to fall yet. It’s still August. And to me, oven roasted vegetables are for fall and winter. I’m a very seasonal person, so in the summer I want food that epitomizes summer, in the winter, I eat winter comfort food. You get the picture. So what should I do with those beautiful beets for a summer season dish?

I saw a recipe in Farmers’ Market magazine for a golden beet smoothie made with Greek yogurt. I thought that might be interesting. But Larry said no way. No beet smoothie. But it made me think that maybe I could come up with a light summery beet soup with a yogurt base. The final result didn't actually use the yogurt in the soup base because once I tasted it, the beet flavor was so lovely, I didn't want to dilute it. The yogurt became a garnish.

Golden Beet Summer Soup
2 servings

1 can low salt chicken broth
4 golden beets
1 Tbsp heavy cream
½ tsp lemon zest, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh chives chopped
Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper

Wash beets, wrap in foil and bake in oven at 400 degrees until fork tender (about an hour). When cool, skin the beets. Beets can be refrigerated at this point for later use, or proceed with soup. Chop beets into cubes.

Heat chicken broth and beets in medium saucepan. Puree in blender or with immersion blender until smooth. Add cream, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh chives.

This makes a nice light, very beet-flavored soup. I served it with a green salad and crostini topped with goat cheese and chives. My experiment got rave reviews from my husband. He thought the goat cheese crostini made the perfect accompaniment for the soup. I doubt the smoothie would have met with the same accolades.

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