Before you all send me English grammar corrections, I know the plural of beetroot is beetroot, but it just worked in the headline, so why not!
So back to those beetroot roots. I grew up in home of Lithuanian Jewish origin where beetroot was a revered vegetable. In the summer it was cold beetroot soup, or borscht, and in the winter there was delicious hot beetroot and cabbage soup served with little meatballs, and of course in between there were various forms of beet salad. I love the nostaligiv taste of beetroot – that earthy sweet taste takes me back to my roots.
One benefit is that beets are really good for you. They are very low in calories; have no cholesterol and small amount of fat; and are filled with a whole bunch of nutrients, vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid and others. So this is one of the few Jewish foods that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. Tuck in!
Here’s a recipe that’s an update on the traditional Litvak beet soups of my youth. It’s pureed for that modern twist. The result is a gorgeous, dark pink soup that looks fantastic in the bowl with a dollop of sour cream or Tofutti sour cream if you’re keeping it parev.
SMOOTH BEETROOT SOUP
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion chopped
5 medium-large beets peeled and diced
1½ liters vegetable or parev chicken stock
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 sprig of fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
Sour cream or Tofutti sour cream for serving (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
How to do it
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion. Saute over a medium flame until soft and translucent.
2. Add the diced beets and cook for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. Add the stock, vinegar, sugar and seasoning, turn the heat up to high and bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the beets are completely soft.
4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. If you’re using fresh thyme, remove the sprig. Liquidize using a stick blender or blend in a liquidizer in batches (making sure you close the lid – you don’t want beetroot soup all over your walls!)
5. Serve each bowl with a scant tablespoon of sour cream on top.
Makes a gesunte pot of soup (serving about 12).