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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Creamy Beet Soup Recipe

Beets are like paint bombs. Deliciously sweet, red, flavored paint bombs, so intensely colored they stain your fingers, bleed into the sink, tint the cutting board, you name it. When cooked, they aren't so much red as deep magenta. When mixed with sour cream they turn paler shades of magenta to pink. The color, like the flavor is either something you love or you hate.

Beets get a bad rap from the low carb police, but they are actually quite healthy, filled with antioxidants, low in calories, they have significant amounts of fiber, folate, manganese and potassium. I know some people find beets too "earthy" tasting, but both Lee and I love 'em. Especially in beet soup.

There are an unbelievable number of recipes for beet soup. It's commonly served all over Eastern Europe. There are versions that are cold, hot, vegetarian, with meat, chunky, smooth, with tons of vegetables, with no other vegetables.

Lately I've been experimenting with "less is more". I've tried stripping down various recipes to the barest of basics to see if I could coax the ingredients to shine through. This is one of those recipes. In my experiment to get to the essence of the beet, I developed a recipe that has little more than beets in it at all. A pinch or two of sugar perks up the flavor and the broth and sour cream add body and richness.

And yet this soup is variable, you can make it as creamy as you like by varying the amount of sour cream. Sometimes you taste something and you struggle to make out the ingredients. In this case you may be amazed at the depth of flavor in just plain beets embellished only with a little broth and sour cream...

Creamy-As-You-Like Beet Soup
serves 2 as entree or 4 as a starter


3 beets
14 oz chicken broth (or seasoned vegetable broth)
1-2 teaspoons sugar
1/4, 1/2 or 3/4 cup sour cream (depending on how you like it)


Prepare the beets by scrubbing them well, trimming them and leaving about one inch of the stems. Place in a glass microwave-safe container with 1/2 cup of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 10 minutes. Let cool, reserving the liquid. Peel and trim beets, then shred with a hand grater.

Place the beet and liquid back in the glass container, add the chicken broth and cover, microwave until heated through, 5 minutes (longer if the beets are very cold). Taste broth for seasoning, depending on the beets you may need a teaspoon of sugar. Place contents in blender with sour cream and blend until smooth.

Chill in the fridge. Serve thoroughly chilled.