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.

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