Monday, September 14, 2009

White Bean Borscht


First, a word of advice.

Don’t serve borscht to your remarkably squeamish partner when your evening plans include eating dinner while watching Dexter on DVD. Our conversation went something like this:

Me (looking at my bowl of thick red soup): Oh! This is perfect we’re watching a show about blo-

Him (wincing): Stop! Don’t say it!

Right. So maybe this is a meal best served on a night when we’re watching, like, 30 Rock or something. My mistake.

Luckily, this soup, my first attempt at borscht, was delicious. And the Man of Science was able to get over his squeamishness and enjoy both the dinner and the DVD. Soup made from roasted vegetables is always so flavourful. And the addition of the white bean puree made it all thick and smooth and upped the protein quotient considerably. A bloody good dinner. Yes, I did just say that.

ready for roasting

White Bean Borscht

2 medium carrots, chopped into large chunks
2 broccoli stalks or 3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, smashed
10 small beets, washed well with the tops and tails cut off
1 sprig rosemary, broken into three
1 potato, cubed
¼ cup olive oil
3 cups soup stock
2 cups of white beans
Approx 1 cup of unflavoured, unsweetened soymilk or almond milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley or dill for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place all vegetables and the rosemary in a lidded casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Put covered dish in oven for one hour or until vegetables are all soft and easily mashed.

Place a large soup pot on stove over medium heat. Add soup stock and heat until simmering.

Add roasted vegetables to soup stock and cover. Reduce heat to minimum and let simmer while you prepare the bean puree.

The bean puree is not an exact science. What I did was put two cups of cooked white beans in a bowl and pour in enough soymilk to just cover them. Then I used my immersion blender to puree the mixture until it was totally smooth.

When the puree is ready, uncover your soup and use that immersion blender to blend the veggies and the soup stock. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can put the whole shebang in your blender or food processor and mix it until it’s all smooth.

When the soup is blended and your eyeballs are singed by its lovely pinkness, mix in the bean puree. Then season with salt and pepper.

If you’d like to be all fancy, save some of the bean puree to add to the bowls of soup before your serve them. Dropping a few blobs of the puree onto the surface of the soup and dragging a knife through it a few times will make it look all pretty like mine is in the photo.

Garnish with parsley or dill.

Makes 6 servings.

Some Notes:

-I’m not usually one for pushing the purchase of kitchen appliances, but if you don’t have an immersion blender I’d highly recommend getting one. They are perfect for making soups like these and eliminate the practice of dumping hot, lumpy soup into a regular blender which, for me always resulted in burnt hands and messy counter tops. Also good for blending cashews, rice milk, cocoa powder, and almond extract together if you have a late-night pudding craving. I’m just saying.

-It’s not always something I think about, but this dish is very low in fat for something with so much flavour. I was totally full after one bowl (and some bread on the side) and still felt fine when I got up the next morning to go on my run.

-If you have dill, I’d go for that over the parsley. I found the flavours didn’t work so great together.



Tara said...

The soup looks gorgeous and sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

T said...

I'm so obsessed with beets but I haven't been brave enough to try borscht yet... it seems like something that everyone's grandma knows how to make better than me.

*hahahah* bloody good dinner...

xinme said...

This looks beautiful, J.! I so appreciate how you make food look absolutely gorgeous. I love roasted vegetable soup -- and I think I might just have to try this:) Alas, every immersion blender I've ever owned has broken, so I'll have to do the hot liquid in the blender (and all over the counter) thing -- but it looks like it might be worth it!

Do you make your own soup stock? If so, how?

sweetkaroline said...

soup looks awesome.

roasted veggie soup is always a winner in my book.

and i've totally been lusting after an immersion blender for YEARS.

maybe santa will bring one for me this year?

The Voracious Vegan said...

Borscht is one of my favorite things to eat and to make, in fact, I posted my recipe for it (and perogies) a few months ago.

Your photos are just beautiful, I love the idea of a bean puree. Bet it was delicious!

A said...

Embarrassing admission: I'd never heard of Borscht.

After reading through your recipe (and the late night pudding comment) I think I need to get a new kitchen gadget AND try this recipe! :D

Becca said...

This looks great! I live in a Doukhobor area and can't take part in the local borscht, so it's great to have a recipe I can eat. Also, what's this cashew pudding recipe???

XUP said...

There is almost no appliance in our house that gets used more often than the immersion blender. I don't know how people function without them, especially since you can pick one up for less than $20 sometimes. And thanks, I love the sound of this recipe.