9.07.2013

The Sweet Beet

I am a sucker for beets.

I love deep, dark red, earthy beets; Chioggia beets with their festive pink and white stripes; and the intense sunset colors of rainbow beets.

But golden beets are probably my favorites, both for their intense golden color and mild taste. Mark likes to roast chunks of golden beets with one red one together so that the color of the red seeps into the gold... like grenadine mingling with orange juice in a tequila sunrise.

Today, at the market, I got some big golden beets... enough to make today's soup recipe and still have some for a salad of arugula, roasted beets, and fresh goat cheese. A happy day.

I made this using what I had on hand, as well as things I got at the market. On hand: chicken stock, potato, onion, butter, light cream. From the market: golden beets, leeks, dill.

A variation on my mother's recipe for vichyssoise, this soup is pretty simple and straightforward - and, at the same time, elegant.

It makes a great chilled summer meal with a green salad on the side. We sprinkled some piment d'esplette on the soup to add a little flavorful heat. I was also able to get my favorite heirloom tomatoes – Cherokee Reds – to add to the salad.

Summer is leaving Tucson – and September is often the hottest month. But I don't mind, because the sun is bright, the garden lush, the market bountiful, and the fridge full of good food and wine!

~ David

Golden Beet Vichyssoise with Dill

3/4 pound golden beets, trimmed and scrubbed

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 of a large white onion, diced
2 small leeks, washed and sliced (white and light green parts)
1 medium russet potato - about 3/4 pound - peeled and sliced
4 cups chicken broth
freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 cup light cream
piment d’esplette, optional


Preheat oven to 400°F. Place beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap them tightly and roast for about 1 hour, then test them with a sharp paring knife. The knife should slide into the middle of the beet with ease. Remove beets from the oven and let cool until you are able to hold them. Slip off their skins, then quarter and slice them. Set them aside.


Melt butter in a 4-quart stockpot; add onion and leeks, and cook over low-to-moderate heat until they are softened and clear.
Do not brown them.

Add potatoes, reserved beets, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until potatoes are very tender.
Season with salt and pepper.

Purée soup in batches using a blender; in one of the batches, add the dill all at once. Once puréed, pour soup into a glass or ceramic bowl. Add the light cream and stir to mix in cream and distribute the dill evenly. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Serve the soup in chilled bowls sprinkled with piment d’esplette, if desired.


Serves 6-8.


Notes: Roasting the beets concentrates the sugars and gives them a deeper, richer flavor. If you don't want to heat up the oven, you can simply peel and slice the beets and cook them with the potatoes. Red beets will yeild a spectacular pink soup.

34 comments:

  1. I share your love of beets as well. They're everywhere at the moment! I'm thinking, to add some theatrics you could make two batches (one pink and one golden) and slightly swirl the two together to serve!

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    1. Great idea to do with the two beet soups, John. I did a similar thing once with spring pea soup and the pink beet soup for Christmas. It was beautiful. The pink and gold would be a great summer color combo!

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  2. I've never had anything like this, but it sounds delicious!

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    1. It is pretty good, Susan - if you like beets, I think you will like it. (PS - I owe you a nice long email in response to your wonderful story! It's coming - I promise!)

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  3. David, I am always envious of these lovely sweet golden beets - I have never ever found so much as one around here but I would love to give them a try and feature them on my blog one day...maybe I should plant some!
    You soup looks like such an alegant and lovely recipe - I love the ingredients and the color so much!
    Have a lovely Monday, dear David!

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    1. Dear Andrea - I have read through all the comments and am shocked that golden beets are not available all over. I had no idea!

      I was surprised how light the golden color was once I added the cream. But I forgot about that when I tasted it!

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    2. Dear Andrea - I have read through all the comments and am shocked that golden beets are not available all over. I had no idea!

      I was surprised how light the golden color was once I added the cream. But I forgot about that when I tasted it!

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  4. I have never seen golden beets in our area either just the regular red variety which is a shame because this recipe sounds beautiful! It is always interesting to read about what interesting ingredients other bloggers around the world are cooking with :)

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    1. Maybe you need to talk to your local farmers Down Under and get them to grow you some. They are truly beautiful!

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  5. Hi hi, David. I love beets, too. These white ones are a great idea for getting the sweet flavour w/o painting the soup red. Can't wait to Tate it! xo

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    1. Hi, Colette! Does your little one like beets? I have a friend who gets her daughter to eat beets by serving the golden ones - she never knows she' seating beets at all! She calls them vegetable candy!

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  6. Beets and goat cheese always make for a wonderful day and soup! I can hardly find any interesting colored beets here, but I don't mind, love the red ones roasted. LOVE them. And I really really like vichyssoise. So this might become my favorite soup?? Need to try it soon! Yesterday we had a hot day, short sleeve t-shirt kind of day. I don't want to know how hot the summer will be...

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    1. Vichyssoise is one of my favorite soups, too. My favorite way - and this would work well on the beet vichyssoise, too - is drizzled with truffle oil! Yum!

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  7. how we heart potato Vichyssoise,simple aromatic rightly balanced French soup....but this is such an innovative idea to use golden beets....it will provide delicious flavor...will love it warm or cool with a crusty French bread slice with garlic butter....yummy lunch ready within minutes....thanks for sharing this beautiful culinary idea :-)

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    1. You are right! This soup is absolutely perfect with a nice hunk of crusty French bread. I hope you try it - I think you will like it! Thank you, as always, for your kind comments!

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  8. I love chilled soup and this one looks divine, smooth and creamy.

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    1. Thanks, Anna! At lunch the other day, my friend (who is 90) ordered the vichyssoise - and kept waiting for it to get warmer. She didn't realize it was a chilled soup! Of course it was sitting on top of ice!

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  9. J loves beets too!!!! He will be super excited when I try out this recipe. Thanks for sharing! Btw, I have never seen golden beets before. They look much prettier than the red ones, I think :)

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    1. Thanks, Penny - I hope you and J like it! We see a lot of golden beets ere, as we did in Maine. Let me know if you ever find any!

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  10. I am a huge beet fan. All colors! I love that you used the golden beets for this soup -- the color looks rich, creamy, and oh-so-delicious!

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    1. Thanks, Valentina - we have been enjoying golden and Chioggia beets for years but the newest to me are the rainbow beets. Have you ever see then out your way?

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    2. I've seen some at the Farmer's Market - usually red and white. Are those the ones you mean? Or are they multi-colored?

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    3. No - these are pure gold beets, and the other ones I love are rainbow beets - they are like a tequila sunrise in reverse... golden at the root and getting orange and then red as they go up to the tops. I hope you find some!

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  11. Later in the day, last Sunday, after I read this terrific post and tried, without success, to post a comment (as you know), I ended up in a small French restaurant (are there ever big French restaurants?) in Westport, Connecticut and guess what they had on the menu? What sounded exactly like this soup! But, I didn't order it...because I knew that yours would be so much better. I hope to make it soon!

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    1. Ahhh.... but maybe theirs was better? What did you end up having? Thanks for adding your comment twice! xox

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  12. What an exquisite post David. I've never actually seen, or eaten, a golden beet. I feel quite disappointed actually... I need to track some down, as I find myself swooning at all the gorgeous photos of beet cross-sections I see on blogs like yours! This vichyssoise looks divine. You are endlessly creative. I'm going to try this as soon as I find some gorgeous golden beets! x

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    1. You know, Laura - I think the cross sections of the golden beets may actually be why I like them so much. They are simply gorgeous! I have to wonder why no one is growing them in Australia - maybe you need to talk to you r farmers! And you should definitely make this with red beets - the pink color is outrageous and looks beautiful on the Christmas table served half-and-half with sweet pea soup!

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  13. I must try you beet vichyssoise...it sounds wonderful and I love its beautiful color.

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    1. Thanks, Karen! Isn't it fun how we taste with our eyes as much as with our tongues? By the way, I am loving Back Road Journal!

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  14. i, too, love beets! I think this is the perfect recipe to break in my immersion blender this year :)

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    1. Immersion blenders are the best! It woudl be perfect for this soup.

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