Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Goldilocks Soup

When I was growing up, one of mom's famous recipes was beet soup. It was pretty much always the same, red beets, usually grated, with some beet greens and stems for a little extra texture. A little bit tart from sour salt.

It was always served with a dollop of sour cream and some diced cucumbers for a cool crunch. And then you'd swirl the sour cream into the clear soup and it would turn opaque and pink.

The soup was always the same, but when it came to serving, it was like Goldilocks and the three bears. My dad liked the soup steaming hot, mom liked it stone cold, and I liked it somewhere in-between. Not chilly, but not hot, either.

Back then, we'd never heard of golden beets. They were all dark red. Even now, golden beets are mostly found at the farmer’s market rather than grocery stores, and now is the perfect time to buy them, while they’re young and tender.

I started thinking about making mom’s beet soup with golden beets, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be perfect as a chilled soup. Of course, if you don't like cold soup, warm it up. I won't tell anyone.

I used rice vinegar for this because the mild flavor is perfect. A white balsamic or white wine vinegar would work as well, or even a red wine vinegar - you're not using so much that it would affect the color. I wouldn't use a regular balsamic, though - no sense in muddying the bright color if you don't have to.

If you don't have a yellow bell pepper, orange or red would work as well.

Pickling cucumbers are in season now, but if you want to make this off-season, I’d suggest using English cucumbers.

Goldilocks Soup

6-8 small golden beets, cooked and peeled
2 medium pickling cucumbers, peeled and chunked
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut in chunks
1/4 medium onion cut in chunks
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (or to taste) rice vinegar
For the garnish:
Greek-style yogurt (or sour cream)
Pickling or English cucumber, peeled and diced

Place all the ingredients (holding back on the salt and vinegar until you taste) into your blender. Add 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth, then taste for seasoning. I always like my beet soup a little bit tart, but it's up to you.

Serve chilled with a small dollop of the yogurt and a sprinkling of the diced cucumbers. Feeling herby? Chopped chives or a little bit if fresh dill would be nice.


Anonymous said...

Donna, did your mom or anyone in your family ever make cold sorrell soup--schav? It's a companion to the cold (or hot, or lukewarm) borscht you describe. One of my favorites, but very little known. this is Annie B. writing.

Donna Currie said...

Nope, never had sorrel soup. I don't recall having sorrel in any form when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

Soup sounds great, but I have never cook a beet. Can you tell me how you cook yours.thanks

Donna Currie said...

For this recipe I boiled the beets. Wash them thoroughly, and boil in salted water until they're tender - just like a potato. Then remove the skin - it will just slip off the beet when you rub it gently. You can also roast beets, but whatever you do, you want to peel them after cooking. For one thing, it's a heck of a lot easier, and for another, the color will bleed out a lot if you peel first.

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