Golden Beet Soup
This farm-fresh soup could be the centrepiece of a luncheon menu or the perfect starter for a dinner party. With its pale yellow colour, your guests might be expecting the flavour of squash but they will be in for a delicious surprise when they taste the perfect combination of golden beets, ginger and lemon. This is a versatile recipe as the soup can be served hot, room temperature or chilled. Don't skip the chèvre and dukkah topping which adds an incredible pop of flavour and texture. You can also purchase dukkah - a versatile Egyptian-inspired blend of nuts, seeds and spices - at many specialty food shops.
For the soup
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter or olive oil
- 8 -10 medium sized golden beets (enough for 4 cups / 1 L chopped)
- 1 large onion (enough for 1.5 cups / 375 mL) chopped)
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 mL) Dijon mustard
- 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
For the dukkah
- 1 cup (250 mL) shelled pistachios (you can also use hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts)
- ½ cup (125 mL) sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coriander seeds
- 1 ½ tablespoons (22 mL) cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coarse sea salt
For the garnish
- 6 ounces (170 g) chèvre
- Peel beets and chop into approximately ¾ inch (2 cm) pieces.
- Heat butter or olive oil in large pot over medium heat.
- Sauté onions for three minutes; add beets and ginger. Stir to blend well.
- Cover pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add broth and enough water to cover vegetables by about ½ inch (1.25 cm).
- Cover pot and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until beets are very soft (45 - 60 minutes).
- While beet mixture is cooking, prepare dukkah: In a dry skillet over medium heat, roast coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Place roasted spices in a mortar and pestle and pound together with the peppercorns until pulverized (or grind in a coffee mill, or in a food processor).
- In the same skillet, over medium heat, roast nuts until fragrant, about 5 - 8 minutes (watch them carefully so that they don't burn). Put nuts on a plate to cool. Place in a food processor.
- In the same skillet, roast sesame seeds until fragrant and they begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly. Place sesame seeds in the food processor with the nuts. Pulse to chop until mixture has a chunky-sand texture (do not over blend).
- Put the spice mix and nut-sesame mix into a large bowl. Add salt and stir to blend well. Store dukkah in the fridge in an airtight glass container for up to three months.
- Once beets are very tender, remove pot from heat. Take off cover and let stand for 20 minutes.
- Puree soup in blender in batches (or use a stick blender right in the cooking pot) until smooth.
- Return pureed soup to pot. Add lemon juice; taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
- If not serving within the hour, transfer to soup to containers and refrigerate or freeze.
- When ready to serve, rewarm to desired temperature.
- While soup heats, shape goat cheese into six disks. Pour about 1/3 cup (75 mL) dukkah into a shallow bowl and press goat cheese disks into dukkah mixture until evenly coated.
- Divide soup among 6 serving bowls and place a disk of dukkah-coated goat cheese in the centre of each bowl. Serve immediately.