So this recipe that combines both the greens and the beets in a single soup? Yes, it got my attention. The added bonus? The stems are used too!
And I'm so glad -- the soup is entirely delicious. The greens are there but honestly, what you're paying attention to is those beet batons. And since it cooks only just until the vegetables are tender to the tooth, it's nothing at all like my recipe for traditional borscht, even last summer's cold and creamy borscht.
FERGUSON FARMERS MARKET For St. Louisans: The beets came from the Ferguson Farmers Market in North County, which the Riverfront Times recently named as the 'best farmers market in St. Louis'. I've only been once but really liked it. The 'farmers' are better described as 'growers' -- they live nearby and keep gardens of maybe three or four acres. Parking is easy, it's dog friendly (important, people!) and the craft and kids booths were lots of fun. Every 30 minutes, they were raffling off something, I never did figure out what but it added to the fun. Vegetable-wise, late in the season, I came home with piles of peppers, some gorgeous beans, green tomatoes, two kinds of turnips, the beets, an eggplant or two. The prices seem "way" more reasonable than my experience this year at Tower Grove, Maplewood, (especially) Clayton and even my own hometown market, Kirkwood. I spent $8 and change for everything (and more) in this photo -- at my other markets, $8 doesn't go far. It's a hike for me, north of UMSL and I70, but worth an occasional trip. Still, is Ferguson the best farmers market in St. Louis? Hmm. I'll go so far as to say that it just may well deserve the title of St. Louis' best neighborhood farmers market.
HOW to CLEAN & STORE GREENS Just home from the market, I felt so homemaker-ish, cleaning all these vegetables, washing all the greens. But it really worked -- three days later, when I was ready to make the soup, the greens were in near-perfect condition. Here's what I did: I soaked them in cool water in the sink for a few minutes, sloshing them around every once in awhile to loosen dirt. Then I rinsed them under running water, making sure to get water into the crevices. I threw away a few leaves, ones that were already soft. I let them drain in a colander for maybe an hour, then slipped them into a plastic bag but didn't close it tightly, then refrigerated. This worked like a charm -- but I'd appreciate readers' tips, too, if you have them.
~ more beet recipes ~
including these favorites
~ Beet Pesto ~
~ Beets with Feta ~
~ one year ago this week Warm Root Salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette ~
~ two years ago today Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ~
GREENS 'N' ALL BEET SOUP
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 10 cups
6 cups beef stock (I used cubes & water)
1 bay leaf
2 pounds fresh beets, including about 8 small to medium beets plus their greens and stems
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 medium red cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 carrots, cut on the diagonal (I used 1 cup, next time will do two)
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes (whoops! missed this -- and I don't think I'd use it another time, it would change the total concentration of beet flavor, I think)
1/4 cup fresh dill, just the feathery parts, stems removed
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice or a gentle vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
In the microwave, bring the beef stock to a boil. (I do this in the microwave in two-cup increments. The step can be skipped if you're not in a hurry, it speeds up the cooking just a tad.) Add it to a very large pot or Dutch oven as it's hot. Add the bay leaf.
Trim the root and stem ends off the beets. Peel with a vegetable peeler, then cut into slices, then into batons. Add to the pot. Trim the stems, cut into maybe 1/2-inch lengths and add to the pot. Chop the greens -- but put these aside for the moment.
Add the onion, cabbage, tomatoes, dill, salt and pepper to the pot. Add the greens. (Much to my surprise, this didn't overcook the greens at all.) Bring to a boil, cover, adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes til beets are the desired texture.
Stir in the sugar and lemon juice or vinegar. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and fresh dill -- then lap it up!
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