Borscht (hearty or as a shooter)
As you may tell, I love blended soups. So pure and simple, based on one good ingredient. Beets are the absolute star here — a perfect, concentrated fall soup. Bulgar and blended white beans make this a filling and complete meal. Or you can skip both and serve cold in tea candle glasses, as a shooter.
4 medium beets, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
6 cups water or vegetable broth (homemade or with bouillon — if using bouillon, use much less salt elsewhere)
1 cup cooked cannellini, with cooking broth
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thinly
.5 cup dry bulgar
salt and pepper
white wine vinegar
parsley or cilantro
sesame oil or hot sesame oil
Preheat oven to 400. Lay beets on baking sheet lined with foil. Spray beets with canola and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 60 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and let beets cool.
Set water or broth to boil in large soup pot. When it hits a rolling boil, stir in beans, cumin and curry. Turn flame to medium and cover, leaving a crack for steam. Boil extra water in a tea kettle in case you need to thin soup.
Caramelize onions — warm a cast iron skillet on medium. Add onions without oil, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Add olive oil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes, again stirring occasionally. Add a few dashes of vinegar with salt and pepper. Cool a few minutes — you want onions glistening and brown but not burnt. Dump into soup.
Peel beets. I like to peel over a colander in the sink so I don’t make a bloody mess of kitchen. Skin should slide right off a well roasted beet — otherwise use a peeler. Chop beets finely and dump in soup.
Puree soup with immersion blender (yes, G-d’s gift to soup-making). Add bulgar and let soup cook for about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure soup does not stick to bottom of pot. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve soup topped with yoghurt, chopped parsley or cilantro and a dash of sesame oil. Again, cold soup is delicious as a shooter (minus bulgar and maybe minus beans).