beet soup recipe

Busha’s Beet Soup

Busha’s Beet Soup

This colorful, tasty soup, was first made for me by my Busha, my Polish grandmother. Beets are a big ingredient in Eastern European culture. My Mom cooked with them, too.

I have fond memories of spending time with my Busha. I stayed with her on weekends a few times. One of those weekends, she taught me how to make a wonderful coffee cake. I still have the index card where I wrote down the recipe as she went along making it. Busha didn’t write her recipes down much.

Another time, she made beet soup. I loved it. I think the color is what pulled me in. I was a big fan of pink back then. I still am, especially when it comes to this soup.

I prefer to use fresh, raw beets.  You can use cooked beets, or even canned, if you like.

I made homemade spaetzle, but other pasta or cooked, diced potatoes are good, too.

So here is the recipe for the soup and the spaetzle. I always think of Busha when I make it.

 

 

Busha’s Beet Soup

1 large onion, sliced thin

oil

5-6 medium beets, about 2 pounds

5-6 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

1 c. dairy sour cream

1 t. dill weed

cooked spaetzle, recipe follows

 

In soup pot, sauté onion in oil until starting to brown. Meanwhile, peel and dice the beets. You should end up with 5-6 cups of cubed beets. Add beets and stock to pot and bring to boil. Cover and turn down to a simmer. Cook until beets are tender, about 20- 25 minutes.  Place sour cream in small bowl and ladle in a little of the hot soup, whisking until smooth. Add another ladle of soup and whisk again. Pour this mixture into pot of soup along with the dill weed. Serve with the spaetzle.  Serves 4-5.

 

Note: You can also pre-cook the beets or use canned beets. Trim off leaves of beets, leaving 2 inches of stem. Leave roots intact. Boil beets in water until tender, which can take as little as 20 minutes for tiny beets or 45 minutes for the large ones. Cool in bowl of ice water and then slip off the skins. Dice and add to soup as if the beets were canned. You don’t need the long cook of fresh beets. Just bring soup up to a simmer.

If you prefer, serve the soup with diced boiled potatoes or kluski, rather than the spaetzle.

 

You can serve the sour cream on the side, rather than incorporating it into the soup, then allow people to add a dollop of sour cream to individual bowls. Polish beet soup usually adds the sour cream and Russian style is to dollop on the top. Both versions taste good.

 

Spaetzle

3 eggs

1/2 c. half and half or evaporated milk

1/2 t. salt

1 1/2 c. flour

 

Combine all ingredients and let rest 30 minutes. Drop by small spoonfuls into boiling water. Cook until they float and puff up, about 5 minutes. Drain and serve with soups, stews, sauces or buttered.

 

 

 

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

Rather than start dinner with a salad- why not try a cold soup instead? It’s been very hot around here lately, and a cold soup sounded good to me. This is a great first course for a hot day. Or, a perfect lunch.

I got this recipe from a friend of a friend. I tweaked it a little from the original, but it is pretty much the same. It is  simple to make and full of flavor.

The sweetness of the watermelon, pairs nicely with the earthy flavor of the beets. The mint also adds a nice little pop of flavor. The color is pretty cool, too. I shared this recipe with a friend and she said she just drinks it like a smoothie. You can easily make bigger or smaller batches. Just start with equal amounts of watermelon and beets. Thin it down with a little stock, until it gets to the consistency you like. The soup will keep in the fridge for several days and freezes well.

You don’t have to serve it just at dinner or even just for lunch.  I actually have eaten it for breakfast, too.

 

Chilled Beet and Watermelon Soup

2 cups diced beet (cooked)

2 cups diced seedless watermelon

a few sprigs of mint

Put in blender

Add Chicken or Vegetable stock to taste/consistency

Add salt if desired

Dollop with Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt, if desired.

Garnish with fresh mint.

With any cold soup- chill well after you make it. You might even want to chill the bowls and spoons.

Very Pink Soup

Very Pink Soup

Very Pink Soup

I had planned on just calling this recipe beet soup or maybe pureed beet soup. Then a friend came over and I offered her a bowl. When I set it down in front of her she said, “Wow, this is really pink soup.” After that I couldn’t name it anything else.  People seem to have strong opinions about beets. They either love them or hate them. I love them and I enjoy them in soups, salads, relishes,  casseroles and more. The earthy flavor really appeals to me and the color is a delightful bonus. I made this soup using a large bunch of beets I picked up at a produce market. I used the beets in the soup and I used the greens in the little dumplings. The result is a very tasty dish that is also sort of striking to look at.

Very Pink Soup

1 bunch beets- mine had 3 large beets

2 T. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 cups stock- I used chicken but vegetable stock or beef stock would also work

2 t. dill weed

salt and pepper to taste

1 c. sour cream- or a little more if you like

Cut beets off of their stems- leaving about 2 inches attached- this will reduce bleeding and retain more color in the beets. Reserve greens for the dumplings. Place beets in a pot of water deep enough to cover them and cook until the beets are just getting tender, about 30 minutes. Remove and place in cold water. Once the beets are cool enough to handle trim off the stems and slip off the skins. Cut the beets into chunks and set aside. In soup pot heat the oil and cook the onion until tender. Add the carrots and beets and cook a few minutes longer. Add the rest of the vegetables, stock, dill and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender. This will take at least 30 minutes- but cooking longer is better- around an hour.  Puree the soup. To add the sour cream place sour cream in a bowl and add a ladle full of the hot soup to the sour cream, whisking until smooth. Add another ladle or two of the soup and whisk again. Return sour cream mixture to the soup. By warming the sour cream gently you prevent it curdling. Adjust seasonings and serve as is or with the beet green dumplings.  Serves 6-8. Freezes well.

While the soup is cooking prepare dumplings.

Beet Green Dumplings

1 bunch of beet greens

2 eggs

1/4 c. milk, cream or half and half

2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1 t. hot sauce

1/2 t. nutmeg

1 1/2 c. flour- may need a little more or less depending on how many greens you start with.

Rinse greens and chop off the stems. Place stems in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. add the greens and cook 3 minutes longer.. Drain greens and stems let them cool down. I didn’t squeeze all the liquid out of them, I just let them drain well. Place greens and stems in a food processor and process until very fine. Add the eggs and the rest of the ingredients, except the flour and process until pretty smooth. Add the flour and pulse until blended. Mixture should be a thick batter. It will be a pretty pink color with flecks of green in it- but it cooks to a paler lilac sort of color.

To cook the dumplings- bring a large pot of water to a boil. I wanted small dumplings so I placed the batter in a sturdy plastic bag and cut the tip off one corner. The hole was the diameter of a pencil. Holding the bag over the pot of boiling water I squeezed the batter into the boiling water. I did it in batches- only cooking about a third of the batter at a time. They will come to the surface and need about 3 minutes to cook in all. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue to cook the rest of the batter. So they wouldn’t get sticky I put them in a colander and rinsed them in cool water. If I were going to use them right away I would just have drizzled a little olive oil over them.