A Soup for Snowdays
In Cambridge today we got (hopefully) the last snow of the season. Now, as any northerner will tell you, if there’s one thing that’ll make old man winter go fuck off back to Siberia, it’s a good, hearty root-veggie soup! So, with yesterday being the first day of spring, I thought I’d try my hand at one final farewell beet and carrot soup before the flowers and leaves get the springtime show on the road in earnest.
This soup is simple but requires a blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle if you are very ambitious. It can be as thick as you want it to be, just err on the side of less water until after blending to ensure the right consistency. It is vegetarian, and if you want it to be vegan, use additional olive oil instead of butter and substitute thick coconut milk for the cream. But, butter makes everything taste amazing, so I'd recommend against it unless you're really sure what you're doing.
Roasted Beet & Carrot Soup
Time: Around 2 hours, largely unattended
Makes 12 servings
2-3 pounds red beets (keep beet greens if you have them)
2-3 pounds carrots
3 large spanish onions
1 bunch celery
10 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
1 pint heavy cream
1 bay leaf
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the beets and cut them into half-inch cubes. Trim carrots (leave on the skin, just wash them) and cut them into inch-long segments. Toss the beets, carrots, and garlic in olive oil and throw them in a deep baking pan for about 40 minutes, until they are soft and flavorful.
Use just enough olive oil to coat bottom of a large pot, then throw in a stick of butter for good measure. Wash and rough chop the onions, celery, leeks, and washed beet greens, and throw them all in the pot. Turn on the heat and stir, making sure the veggies don’t stick.
As the veggies begin to sweat and cook down, add the roasted carrots and beets, as well as the juice at the bottom of the roasting pan.
After about fifteen minutes of on-and-off stirring, when everything is covered in beet juice and beginning to soften, add water to just below the level of the veggies and bring to a simmer.
Add one bay leaf, salt, pepper, and as much allspice, ground ginger, thyme, and rosemary as you want. Start slow—you can always add more seasoning later, and you don’t want to overwhelm the vegetables. If you have fresh herbs, use them!
Simmer until everything is very soft, stirring occasionally. The longer this takes, the better, so go have a glass of wine and do some chores. When ready, the vegetables should be falling apart and the broth should be a thick, deep red. Remove the bay leaf and taste your broth. Adjust seasonings if need be, stir, and then kill the heat.
Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend everything together into a puree. Don’t fill your blender or food processor too far past halfway, or it will coat your kitchen and clothes in beet juice.
Your soup is almost ready! Once blended, stir in heavy cream to your liking until the deep red of your soup begins to turn just a little pink. If it is still too thick, add a little water until you reach just right status.
Serve and enjoy!