Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm on a soup roll

I have found that soups are easy, fast, nutritious and tasty. And they keep me warm on cold winter nights. What more can you ask for in a dish, really?

I found some beets in the store the other day. I have never cooked with beets before, so I was pretty excited. And a little scared. I have heard numerous stories from people who have cooked with beets, telling me that their kitchen looked like a slaughterhouse afterwards. My kitchen is all white, so I was a little concerned but as it turned out, I had nothing to be concerned about. The whole process went without accidents and my kitchen is still white.

I found this recipe in Bon App├ętit, and I served it with freshly made sourdough bread with butter.

I madse a few changes to the original recipe. These were:

The only change I did was:

1) I baked the beets in the oven - in water - for an hour instead of in the microwave.
2) I doubled the amount of Chinese Five Spice, and I added a little more ginger than the recipe said.
I served the soup with a dollop of plain yogurt.

Here's the recipe:

Five-Spice Beet Soup

Yield: Makes 4 servings

4 2-to 2 1/2-inch-diameter beets, scrubbed, trimmed, unpeeled, each cut into 6 wedges (about 3 1/2 cups)
3 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
1 celery stalk with leaves, stalk chopped, leaves sliced
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger (I doubled the amount of ginger)
1/4 teaspoon (or more) Chinese five-spice powder*(I also doubled the amount of spice)
Sour cream or plain yogurt

Place beet wedges in 4-cup glass measuring cup. Add 2 cups broth; cover with paper plate and microwave on high until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and chopped celery stalk; cover and cook until almost tender and translucent, stirring often, about 12 minutes.

Add beet mixture and 1 cup broth to onion mixture; cover and simmer 4 minutes. Mix in ginger and 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder. Transfer to blender; cover and puree. Season soup to taste with salt, pepper, and additional five-spice powder, if desired; rewarm if necessary. Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Top with dollops of sour cream or yogurt.

*A spice blend available in the spice section of most supermarkets.

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