A recent delivery at the Culinary School of the Rockies from Jay Hill Farm in Boulder showed that early beets are already peeking their dark red heads over the soil in local greenhouses, and the realization got me thinking of great beet recipes. I love beets. I love their color, mineral flavor, and hardiness. This soup recipe embraces the flavor of the beet and brightens it with acidic tomato. The hearty beef base makes it rich and thick.
Roasted Beet and Garlic Soup
* 4 medium sized red beets
* 2 garlic bulbs
* Olive oil
* 1 yellow onion, diced
* 1/2 cup red wine
* 1 can diced tomatoes
* 1.5 qt beef stock, hot
* 1 tsp chili flakes
* Salt and pepper
* Feta cheese, crumbled, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim beets, retaining green tops. Slice the tops of several garlic bulbs, exposing all the cloves. Wrap them all together in a foil pouch and drench with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Close the pouch, and roast for one hour. Take out the garlic and allow it to cool while the beets continue roasting until they can be easily pierced with a fork. When they can be handled, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the papery skins. When the beets are tender, rub them under cold water to remove the peels.
In a large saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on a medium flame. Sweat the onions until they are transparent, adding salt, pepper, and chili flakes to taste. Pour in the wine and stir while it reduces until the bottom of the pan is dry.
In a food processor, puree the cooked beets, garlic, onions, and tomatoes into a smooth paste.
Put them back in the saucepan. Pour your hot stock into the mixture, and stir until it is velvety. If you need to warm the soup, put a flame back on and stir constantly to prevent scorching. Serve with crumbled feta cheese.