Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chilled Golden Beet Soup

All of the Golden Grex beets got pulled yesterday. They were sitting behind the bush beans getting to be huge and shading the base of the trellis where I was planting pole beans, so out they came, all 5 of them.

These beets have been a bit of a disappointment because they are only golden skinned, the flesh is white. The flavor is fine but they grow huge and fibrous very quickly. I made a salad with the first one that I harvested and wasn't happy with it because of the texture. Although I suspect I wouldn't have been happy even if the beets had been more tender, the seasonings were not great. (Not my own recipe, thank goodness). I really didn't want to toss the rest of the beets into the compost so I decided to make a pureed soup, chilled, after all, it is officially summer.

The soup came out far better than I expected, especially the texture. Even though the soup doesn't have a lot of fat in it my husband thought it seemed rather rich. Coconut oil instead of my usual olive oil added a rich flavor and buttermilk contributed a tangy creaminess without adding a lot of fat. I used primarily Asian seasonings but used a light hand with them so the soup still had a sweet beetiness to it. The saffron is there primarily to add a bit of color. I wish my chives would grow, some of them would have been nice minced and sprinkled on top. So here, to the best of my memory, is the recipe.

Chilled Golden Beet Soup

--2 tablespoons coconut oil
--1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia, about 1 pound, chopped
--4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
--2+ pounds golden beet chunks which have been peeled
--2 large fresh Makrut lime leaves (Citrus hystrix)
--a pinch of saffron
--1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
--2 tablespoons fish sauce (I like 3 Crabs brand)
--1 1/2 cups 1% buttermilk
--salt to taste

Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until they translucent and starting to color. Add the Makrut leaves and the beets to the pan, add water just to cover the beets, cover and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, until the beets are very tender but not falling apart. I didn't keep track of the time, but it was at least 20 minutes.

In the meantime, lightly toast the saffron threads to dry them out. Then grind them to a powder in a small porcelain mortar and pestle or a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of hot water to dissolve the powder. Set aside.

When the beets are tender, remove the pot from the heat and remove the lime leaves. Add the dissolved saffron, grated ginger, and fish sauce to the cooked beets. Puree the soup in batches in a blender (love my VitaMix) and pass it through a fine sieve into a large heat proof bowl. Set the bowl in an ice-water bath, add the buttermilk and salt to taste to the soup, stirring occasionally until the soup is chilled. Taste the chilled soup and adjust the seasonings to your preference. Keep chilled until served.

Should serve 6 to 8 as an appetizer.


  1. I like the tweaking of the spices. It's good to have a repertoire of flavors so you can skew things one way or another. Sorry the beets weren't up to snuff -- glad they turned out okay.

  2. Oh, that sounds heavenly. Too bad about the fibrousness of the beets, also the non uniform color. Cool that you could make delicious use of them anyway!

  3. That does sound good. I think Asian spices go well with beets - coconut, lime, ginger... we make a Beetroot Curry as a side dish, alarmingly pink with the coconut milk!



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