Friday, December 14, 2012

Cream of Beets Soup--a Different Type of Borshch

As Christmas approaches I think more and more about beets and borshch, the traditional Polish beet soup. I will make the clear broth version again just before Christmas and, as always, I will serve it with small short crust pastries stuffed with mushrooms or mushed beans. But, since I already shared the recipe for the clear beet soup, today, I want to talk about the cream of beets soup, which, although made of beets, is not from the Polish menu.

Cream soup can be made almost out of anything, also beets, one of the vegetables that I enjoy a lot, especially during winter months, and that I am very familiar with. I made this cream of beets recently and I liked it very much. This soup is richer and easier to make than any other beets soup I know, but still has this familiar beet taste and the wonderful purple color. The spices that we use to season beet dishes, such as caraway, dill, and allspice, together with the sour cream enhance this soup make it taste similar to a traditional Polish borshch.

Cream of Beets
(Serves 4-6)

4 medium beets, peeled,
2 shallots,
4-6 cups vegetable or beef broth,
1/2 apple (could be McIntosh, or any juicy and sour apple),
1/2 tsp allspice,
1/2 tsp ground caraway seeds,
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar,
1/2 cup sour cream,
2 tbsp olive oil,
2 tbsp chopped dill,
1 garlic clove, minced,
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy duty pot. Add chopped shallots and fry until soft.
2. Add beets cut into small cubes. Mix and let it all cook together on a small heat for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the peeled and cut into cubes apple and cook for another 3 minutes.
3. Add the stock to the pot with beets, bring it to the boil. Season with salt and pepper. Turn down the heat and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the beets become soft.
4. Using a blender purée the soup. Add minced garlic. Season it with vinegar, allspice, and caraway. If at that point the soup seems too thick add extra broth and bring the soup to boil again. Divide the soup among bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream and chopped dill.