Monday, May 03, 2010

Roasted beetroot soup

I was at St. John's Bread and Wine a few weeks ago while on a trip to England and France, and B. and I had an amazing dinner. One of the specials that night was a beetroot soup, which arrived in a pretty little crock with pickled beets on top, as sweet/sour and interesting as pickled ginger! The beet soup was really a smooth, creamy, dark red puree, well-salted and well-buttered. I really liked the simplicity of flavors, so I tried to replicate it myself, and got pretty close.

So the version listed here is based on the lessons learned from the one I made tonight, which still had a slightly bitter edge (probably due to slight undercooking of beets). I also used a roasted veg puree that I had leftover from a roast chicken I made recently, so this version incorporates the roasting in with the beets. The whole idea here is to roast small beets (which are usually sweetish already) to further enhance their natural sweetness thru caramelization.

Roasted Beetroot soup

10 small beets, any color (but preferably with some red ones in there!), scrubbed, tips and tops cut off
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large onion, rough chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher Salt
4-6 cups stock (or 4 cups stock + water)
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp honey (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Cut largish beets into even sized pieces
  3. On a sheet pan, toss beets, carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Roast at 450 for 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat stock to just boil and remove from heat.
  6. Remove roasted veg from oven, and peel beets (they should peel easily and be nicely caramelized on a few sides)
  7. To 4 cups of hot stock, add roasted veg, 2 bay leaves and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Beets should be nice and soft, easily pierced with fork, like a potato.
  8. Remove bay leaves, and in batches, put beet soup in blender and blend until smooth (be careful! cover the top of the blender firmly with a towel to keep soup from exploding everywhere, and pulse the blender to get it going!!)
  9. Strain hot soup thru a chinois to ensure smooth texture.
  10. Add additional hot stock or water to achieve desired consistency (should not be as thick as baby food, leave it slightly more watery). Heat over low heat as necessary.
  11. Remove from heat, and whisk in 3 tbsp butter.
  12. Adjust salt to taste. If soup is a bit bitter, add optional honey to balance bitterness.
  13. Serve hot with crusty buttered bread. You can also garnish with heavy cream or sour cream.

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