“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious…
The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…
The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.”
— Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)
Inspired by Tom Robbins and the snow surrounding my house, I decided it was time to make the perfect winter lunch. Beet Soup with Dill Cream and Foccaccia topped with pears, caramelized onions and Bellissimo, a blue cheese from Greendale Farm. How heart warming it was to bite into the warm foccaccia and slurp up the bright purple soup while gazing out on a hawk gliding through the snow covered woods behind my house.
The foccaccia recipe was taken straight out of this month’s Food & Wine magazine. Too perfect a recipe to alter, it can be found here.
Winter Beet Soup with Dill Cream
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 c red wine
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 c + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 c sour cream
2 tsp chopped dill, plus a few sprigs for garnish
Oil a pan and roast the beets at 400 for about 20 minutes, until soft. Peel beets and dice.
Saute onion, carrot, celery and potato in a sauce pot until they begin to soften. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Deglaze with red wine. Add stock, dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook until all of the veggies are cooked through and broth has reduced slightly, about 20 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and puree in the pot with a hand blender. Add in 1/2 c of buttermilk & orange juice. Continue to blend until smooth. Return soup to a simmer.
Ladle into bowls. Stir together sour cream, remaining buttermilk and dill sprigs. Place a dollop in the center of each bowl of soup. Serve.