Beet Soup – Classic Borscht
I’ve always been a fan of beets. We enjoy them in salads, either grated raw or roasted. Pickled beets are a nice side or condiment and beets are also great when steamed. Turning these bright red nutritional rock stars into soup however is a labor of love that rewards you with such an amazing taste treat that is also really beautiful.
Beet soup or Borscht as it is often referred to is a traditional Eastern European delicacy. Using a recipe from The Soup Bible as an inspiration, the following is a silky luxurious soup. Served with a thick slice of challah this made for a complete, rich and satisfying meal. Not only was this one of the tastiest soups I’ve had in a long time but when I started to read about beets and their unique nutritional profile I got excited.
Beets score extremely high points for being a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and are also assist with detoxification. The reason for this is the high concentration of the betalain pigments that give the beets their vibrant red color. While these reds are present in other foods, they are much more concentrated in beets. Beets belong to the chenopod family of foods that also include spinach and quinoa which are said to have unique and powerful health benefits not found in other types of foods. Please note that these nutritional benefits are depleted somewhat during long cooking times. See Arthritis Kitchen Tips below for cooking guidelines.
1 onion chopped
1 lb raw beets – peeled and washed
2 – 3 celery stalks – chopped
1 small red bell pepper – chopped
4 oz mushrooms – chopped
1 large apple – chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
2 litres/9 cups stock or water
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp dried thyme
1 large bay leaf
juice of ½ fresh lemon
Salt and pepper
Sour cream, Fresh dill
Heat olive oil in large saucepan, add the chopped vegetables and apple and briefly sauté. Add about 3 Tbs of the stock or water, cover and cook gently for approximately 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the cumin, and thyme, sauté for 1 min then add remaining stock, bay leaf and juice of ½ lemon and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and gently simmer for about 30 minutes.
Strain the vegetables, reserving the liquid. Process the vegetables in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Return to pan, add the reserved stock and reheat. Check for seasoning, adjust as needed.
Divide into individual serving dishes. Garnish with swirls of sour cream and a few sprigs of fresh dill.
Arthritis Kitchen Tips:
- Do not overcook. In order to preserve their nutritional content beets should only be steamed for 15 minutes or if roasting, under 1 hour.
- Beets can stain your hands when working with them. Wear gloves if you wish or, clean up right away using some olive oil and salt!
- Beet purchased with their green tops attached are generally fresher and younger than beets purchased loose.