Thursday, March 1, 2012
This winter has been perhaps the gentlest one I can remember. There have been no blizzards, no ten-day stretches where the thermometer doesn't even get above zero. I've needed my hat and serious boots only a handful of times. Now that it's officially March, anything that happens weather-wise can reasonably be blamed on the caprices of spring. I feel a little disoriented, but I'm not complaining.
Lack of extreme weather aside, there's still not a lot of color on the outdoor landscape during these months. Though it's not cold, it's still pretty dark. We've had our fair share of dreary days, and the grass that has been visible much more than normal is looking pretty tired. I find it really encouraging, when the world is languishing in shades of grey, that you can dig up roots that look like this:
They're so thoughtful.
This soup is delightful. Packed with veggies, warm and comforting, and bright, bright, BRIGHT! Beets and carrots get roasted first, for an extra layer of flavor. I wouldn't say no to a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
(P.S. I'm participating in Soupapalooza with TidyMom and Dine and Dish, sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast, and Le Creuset! Come join the party with your soup recipes!)
If you happen to have beef stock on hand, you can use that in place of some or all of the water and beef bouillon. You can also omit all beef entirely and just use water for a vegetarian soup. Also, this soup is lovely puréed, if you like that. I find it more satisfying to have something to sink my teeth into, especially if soup is the main course. A puréed version would make a great first course.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 large beets, scrubbed clean and quartered
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized russet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 head red or green cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons beef bouillon, optional (use more salt if omitting)
dried or fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream or yogurt, optional
balsamic vinegar, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a baking dish or roasting pan, arrange beets and carrots in a single layer. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil over, and toss well. Add about a cup of water to the dish, and roast for about 45 minutes, until beets are tender and easy to peel. Remove from oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle. Slip the skins from beets and dice.
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add diced beets and carrots, potato, cabbage, and dried dill, if using (if using fresh, wait until the end to add it). Stir well and continue to cook for a couple of minutes. Add about 10 cups cold water to the pot, so that all the vegetables are completely covered. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot or cold, garnished with sour cream or yogurt, balsamic vinegar, and a sprig of fresh dill.