My husband does not like beets. He’ll eat just about anything I put in front of him at least once, but he’s always honest about what things he prefers over others; he rarely dislikes something, but when he does, even goes through efforts to “acquire” a taste for it. I’ve watched him give it his best shot, over the past 7 years, to like beets. I first presented them to him back in Asheville, when I made the Odessa Beets from the Moosewood Cookbook (Asheville brought out the Mollie Katzen in me). He graciously ate them for the meal for which they were prepared, but then let me work solo through the leftovers. I’ve made grated beet salads, thinly sliced beet garnishes, and now roasted beet soup. The soup I thought would be the ticket. It was rich, buttery yet delicate, a delightful and rare treat. I mean, LOOK AT THAT SOUP. What’s not to like?
Apparently, the beets.
I suppose I’ll have to allow him his right to dislike a vegetable. And, well, yes; beets are distinctly… earthy; one could see how they could tip the scale from interesting to offensive. I have my own List-O-Abhorrent-Flavors, including cilantro, black licorice, root beer, and liver (though I did enjoy a fois gras at Bacchanalia — which is a testament to the magical cookery at that place). At least he doesn’t refuse to partake in an entire food group. Because some people actually do that.
But if you are not like my husband, and are interested in making a luscious roasted beet soup, I encourage you to try this one from a food stylist/blogger in Atlanta. I changed things up a little when I made it; I reduced all ingredients since I didn’t have quite enough beets, and used chicken rather than vegetable stock. I also ate it without the créme fraîche, since it’s expensive to buy and a little time-intensive to make. (In retrospect: a lovely, suitable, and quick substitute would probably be crema, which from my experience at Lula is a thinned version of sour cream: equal parts sour cream and heavy cream.) I snipped some fresh chives over the top of my bowl(s) and it was — really — such a treat. Something I would expect to eat at a good restaurant.
It doesn’t make a huge pot, but a tiny bit is all you need. Think first course, or served aside a sandwich or salad. It’s amazingly rich, so a little goes a long way. If you need to use up some beets without making the soup, you can roast the beets and combine with the stock, then purée and freeze. When you’re ready to make the soup, thaw the frozen mixture (make sure you bring it to a simmer if you’ve used chicken stock), then stir in your cream until it reaches your desired consistency.
Let me know if you try it — I’d like to find some more closet beet-eaters out there.