Sunday, September 25, 2011

Roasted Beet and Potato Borscht

We have beets and potatoes. Lots of beets and potatoes--particularly potatoes. So Steve suggested that we make a soup. I looked around and--duh--found tons of borscht recipes. I actually wasn't planning to make a borscht-type soup, but this one looked yummy, so I thought I'd try it. We're planning to continue with a winter CSA from a different farm (Pigman's doesn't do winter shares), so I'm sure we'll be getting a lot of beets. Might as well find a good borscht recipe now!

Beets, scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch cubes (I used 4 large-ish beets)
Olive oil (a couple tablespoons)
Potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1-inch cubes (I used roughly half as many potatoes as beets)
Shallots (I used 2 large ones), roughly chopped
Thyme (I used a couple teaspoons of dried thyme, but the original recipe called for fresh)
Coarse salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
7 c. chicken broth (I made my own using organic Better Than Bouillon chicken base)
Red wine vinegar (a couple tablespoons)
Sour cream (a few tablespoons)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beets on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle them with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add the thyme. Toss to coat the beets with oil. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven, and roast the beets for 25 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add the potatoes and shallots to the beets. Drizzle with another tablespoon or so of olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat the veggies with oil. Roast for about 20 more minutes--until the veggies are tender but not mushy. Remove from oven. If you used sprigs of fresh thyme, you can compost them now. If you used dried thyme, I wouldn't suggest trying to pick out all the flecks of thyme. I mean, go ahead if you want to. I'll check on your progress in five years. Anyway, put the chicken broth in a stock pot, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Add the roasted veggies, and mash them somewhat with a potato masher or other kitchen gadget that can mash things (a large fork, a large spoon, an unopened jar of pickled beets that you're never going to use--you get the idea). You want to soup to be pretty chunky when you're done, so don't mash too vigorously. Add the vinegar, then taste and add more salt, pepper, and/or vinegar as desired. Garnish individual servings with sour cream.

We all liked this quite well; we will definitely be making it again. It was hearty and richly flavorful. After cooking and tasting the soup, I did make some changes to the original recipe (changes reflected above). I added a couple more cups of chicken broth, because it was acting more like a stew than a soup. (I think I used more veggies than the original recipe called for, which is why ours wasn't very soupy at first.) Also, the potatoes and shallots roasted a lot more quickly than the beets did, so they got kind of overcooked in the oven. Then they basically dissolved in the soup, which is why I changed the recipe so that the beets roast for a while before you add the potatoes and shallots. Lastly, we decided that the texture of the parsley was at odds with the rest of the soup, so I omitted that.

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