Chunky Beet Soup

beets 2 11.2.13I was going to purée it, but when I saw the diced beets and potatoes in the purply red broth simmering in the pot, I decided I preferred it just like that—the beets with their beautiful jewel tone, and the diced potatoes turning a pale orange by then, and on their way to becoming as purply red as their fellow diced partner.

I had intentionally bought the four red beets to make soup. The other two ingredients I already had: a leek and new potatoes. The potatoes because of the creamy texture puréed potatoes give a puréed soup. That’s when I was still thinking I’d be stirring my stick blender into the whole of it for a creamy beet soup.

As olive oil heated up in a pot, I cut the leek lengthwise, rinsing it under the faucet to remove dirt, thinly sliced it, and tossed it into the pot over medium-low heat, moving on to the five small potatoes.

I peeled them, cut them into a dice, and tossed them in as well, seasoning the whole with salt and pepper. Keeping the heat at medium-low, so that everything was cooking, but not cooking too fast til I had all three ingredients in the pot.

beets 1 11.2.13I cut off the ends of the beets, peeled, sliced and diced, all the while enjoying the pattern of color, because raw beets have rings and swirls of purples and reds, and even hints of orange in the right light.

Added them to the pot. Salt and pepper. Stirred everything, turned the heat up to medium, covered the pot, allowing them to cook together til the beets and potatoes were tender.

I added four cups of broth, covered the pot again, brought to a boil, then removed the lid and simmered for a few minutes. Seasoned for taste.


I ladled it into a bowl, dropping a spoonful of plain yogurt on top.

Was going to sprinkle some thinly sliced scallions on top, but, when I went to get them out of the fridge, there were none. All used up in a salad my husband had made earlier. So, instead, I mini-julienned the last small green pepper from our garden, for a little green on top.

Of course, stirring in white yogurt caused creamy fuchsia swirls to mix in with purple jewel tones. More color play.

And for texture play: buttery beet, fluffy potato, softened leek.

For all its deep, rich color, a light, bright soup to eat.


Easy Beets and Potatoes

beets 6 10.26.13One of the nice things about beets is that you can find them in convenient eight-ounce packages, steamed and peeled and “ready to eat hot or cold,” as the package says.

Now, beets aren’t a very inconvenient vegetable to begin with, though they may have a  little of that perception, because, if you’re working with red ones, then you’re wary about beet juice and staining. But you’re likely not wearing your best clothes if you’re peeling beets, and, as far as dying your hands, well, really it all pretty much rinses right off under running water. Other than peeling them before or after they’ve cooked, they’re basically on their own while they’re simmering on the stove or roasting in the oven for an hour or so, while you go about other things.

But if beets weren’t at the farmers market when you were there, then the pre-packaged baby ones are perfect…and a nice partner with the small new potatoes that you did find at the farmers market, “you” in this scenario meaning me.

This combo is super easy. I rinsed and peeled a handful of the small new potatoes, put them in a small pot with enough water to cover them, and, once the water came to a boil, simmered them til they were tender, between 10 and 15 minutes. But check them sooner, because they’re small and cook quickly.

In the meantime, I opened the package of baby beets and drained and rinsed them in the strainer.

When the potatoes were done, I drained them, placed them in a bowl, mixing with rice vinegar, so the potatoes would absorb it while still warm, and salt and pepper. Rice vinegar is my go-to vinegar. I love its bright crispness.

beets 2 10.26.13I added the beets to the potatoes. Sprinkled thinly sliced scallion over top, as well as marjoram leaves (lots of marjoram in our garden!). Then salt and pepper, a few more shakes of vinegar, and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Stirred lightly, in an effort to try to preserve the whiteness of the potatoes, but they inevitably took on some of the red, and are maybe all the prettier for it.

Beets and potatoes. Easy to make…and easy to eat.