Friday, June 8, 2012

0 Recipe #305: Beet & Fennel Soup -- Creamy & Refreshing!

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I bought a ton of beets the other day, i.e., about 4 large bunches. So today, it was time to figure out what to do with them. :) When picking out beets, I'm always on the lookout for the ones that have beautiful, intact beet greens, as the greens taste really delicious too (i.e., similar to spinach) and can be used in a multitude of dishes.

Even though there are a handful of other beet (and beet green) recipes on this site, of course, I wanted to create something new. :) These days, I've pretty gotten used to not repeating myself in the kitchen, mostly because I've got a few books to write now, and all of those books need new recipes. :-D

Been on a roll with the beet buying for some reason, probably because the weather's gotten hot again, and cold beets taste super-refreshing. The previous week I also bought beets and made Beet, Blood Orange, and Rocket Salad with Shaved Fennel, Red Onion, Walnuts, & Blue Cheese (Tossed in a Balsamic Vinaigrette). That's one of the recipes that'll most likely make an appearance in one of my upcoming books. :)

So, anyhow, below is the recipe I created from the multiple bundles of beets stored in my fridge. There will probably be another beet recipe, along with a beet greens recipe following this one at some point soon. After all, there are still leftover beets, plus a TON of beet greens. :)

Beet & Fennel Soup

12 c. water (for soup broth), plus more for boiling beets
3 1/2 lbs. beets, unpeeled and uncooked ( i.e., 3 large bunches of beets) (makes about 8 c. cooked, chopped beets)
1 c. onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 small onion)
2 1/2 c. fennel, chopped (about 1/2 medium-sized fennel bulb)
1 large bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 c. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 c. organic unsweetened (i.e., plain) soy milk*

Directions: First of all, before you do anything, put on latex or rubber gloves, unless you are intentionally trying to dye your hands pink. ;) Also, don't forget an apron, and seriously, people, now is not the time to wear your favorite outfit underneath. :) Fill a gigantic stock pot with water, turn heat up to high, cover, and bring to a rolling boil. While you're waiting for the water to boil, thoroughly wash and rinse beets. (Beets tend to have a lot of silt and other debris on them, so it's important to wash and rinse them well.) Set them aside. Do NOT peel them. When water is at a full boil, lift up lid and gingerly place each (unpeeled) beet into the pot, one at a time, using a slotted spoon. Do NOT plop them into the water (remember, they are dense, and drop like lead weights), or you'll most likely scream from the blowback. ;) (Not that I have experience in this area or anything. Lol.) Cover again with lid and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender and easily pierceable with a fork. While the beets are cooking, prep all of the other ingredients (chop onion, fennel, and parsley; squeeze lemon juice, etc.). When beets have finished cooking, uncover and drain them into a colander and then thoroughly wash out the pot to get rid of any remaining silt. Rinse beets with cold water and allow them to cool. Place pot back onto stove. Add 12 c. water to the pot and bring to a rolling boil. When beets are completely cool to the touch, remove the skin from the beets; if you've cooked the beets until they're tender, the skin should peel away easily. Again, do this while wearing gloves. :) Roughly chop beets and set aside. When water has come to a rolling boil, add onion, fennel, and bay leaf. Cover once more with lid and cook until tender. Then add 8 c. beets and the parsley, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes more. Allow to completely cool, then discard bay leaf. Next, add lemon juice and soy milk to the pot, stir to combine, and then transfer, in batches to a blender. Blend each batch until smooth, transferring the soup to a large container with a lid. Chill in refrigerator and serve cold.

Yield: About 3 quarts.

Chef's Notes: *Soy milk: Whatever you do, do NOT use flavored soy milk! Also, be aware that sometimes even lite soy milk, like Silk Lite, for example, can have added vanilla flavor. Read the ingredients just to be on the safe side. You don't want your beet soup to taste like vanilla, or heaven forbid, chocolate. Eeeeeewwwww. :) It's pretty safe to say that there's a good chance you probably won't like either combination. Trust me on this. :-D So, if you use the flavored milk, don't blame me if your recipe doesn't turn out. Lol.

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