I’ve never cooked beets. Until now, I’m also pretty sure I’ve never eaten them either… there was always something kind of unappealing (and hairy) about them to me. I had a friend in elementary school who used to eat pickled beets & tuna fish sandwiches at lunch… is that a thing people do? I thought it looked kinda gross. Anyway, this year, especially as a new vegetarian, I’m trying to go outside my comfort zone and try new things. So here we go, BonAppetit, bring on the beets.
4 2- to 2 1/2-inch-diameter beets, scrubbed, trimmed, unpeeled, each cut into 6 wedges (about 3 1/2 cups) (The beets came in bunches of three, so I just got one bunch, and it was fine.)
3 cups vegetable broth, divided (I used unsalted for health reasons, but you could use whatever you like.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced (2 cups) (I used a white one because that’s what I had.)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk with leaves, stalk chopped, leaves sliced … where the hell was the celery in the 5th Ave Key Food today?
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger (sorry, I used granulated ginger.)
1/4 teaspoon (or more) Chinese five-spice powder (I don’t have this, nor could I find it in the store– contrary to BA’s recommendation. I just added about a teaspoon each of garlic powder, chili flakes, ground red pepper, and ground black pepper instead. I like things on the spicy side, so do taste test it before adding too much of any one spice.)
Sour cream or plain yogurt (I used plain yogurt.)
Start by cleaning the beets (don’t wear anything white as things tend to get a little messy and pink beet stuff splatters a lot). Scrub off the rough parts, cut off the tips, and trim off the hairs. This is not nearly as gross as it sounds. Then cut them into wedges or cubes, place in a bowl with 2 cups of vegetable stock. Microwave them for 15 minutes, covered. While the beets are in the microwave, prepare the onion and garlic and saute them lightly in olive oil at the bottom of a large soup pot or saucepan. Add the beet mixture to the onions/garlic and then pour in the last cup of vegetable broth. Let that simmer for about 10 minutes. Spice to taste. Transfer in batches to the blender and puree the mixture. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, greek yogurt, or sour cream.
This soup has a really earthy flavor… since I’ve never tried beets before it’s hard for me to know what to expect… it is quite spicy though which is great. The color is also just fabulously vibrant, so I think I’d make this again for a special occasion as an accent dish.
p.s. to K, I stole your strike-through technique on the ingredients list. Good call.