Toasted caraway seeds and fresh dill perfectly accent this Eastern European inspired soup. Garnish with chopped hard-cooked egg.
INGREDIENTS (for 8 servings):
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds raw beets, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large onion, cut into large dice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pinch sugar
- 3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 1 teaspoon toasted caraway seeds*
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups chicken broth, homemade or from a carton or can
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Garnish: chopped hard-cooked egg
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep saute pan until shimmering.
Add beets, then onion; saute, stirring very little at first, then more frequently, until squash start to turn golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add butter, sugar and garlic; continue cooking until all vegetables are a rich spotty caramel color, about 10 minutes longer.
Add caraway seeds and cayenne pepper; continue to saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute longer.
Add broth; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until beets are tender, about 10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or traditional blender, puree (adding fresh dill) until very smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (If using a traditional blender, vent it either by removing the lid's pop-out center or by lifting one edge of the lid. Drape the blender canister with a kitchen towel. To 'clean' the canister, pour in a little half-and-half, blend briefly, then add to the soup.)
Return to pan (or a soup pot); add enough half-and-half so the mixture is souplike, yet thick enough to float garnish. Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed. Heat through, ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.
*To toast caraway seeds, heat 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds in a small skillet over medium-low heat until they start to gently pop and smell fragrant. Cool slightly, then crush with a rolling pin.
This recipe was originally featured in the USA WEEKEND article One Formula Makes 10 Full-flavored Vegetable Soups on October 24, 2004.
Find the Perfect Recipe from Pam Anderson.Copyright 2004 USA WEEKEND and columnist Pam Anderson. All rights reserved.