I love borscht. Really i do. Especially on chilly nights when stick to your ribs is a necessity. Sometimes, however, I like my beet soup to be rich and creamy without the meatiness of a borscht. That is when I make this. It is vegetarian vegan if you don’t add the creme fraiche & butter. Light in heft, but not in flavor.
Roasted Beet Soup
1 lb beets-peeled
2 leeks–white and light green only–cleaned and cut in half
2 cloves garlic–peeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
juice of 1/2 lemon + 1 tsp finely grated zest
knob of butter (optional)
1/4 tsp white pepper to taste (or more to taste)
salt to taste
serve with creme fraiche
Preheat the oven to 350F. Fill a roasting pan with the beets, leeks and whole garlic cloves. Cover lightly in olive oil and a bit of kosher salt. Toss to make sure the vegetables are all lightly coated in the oil. Roast until fork tender (about 1 hour). Allow the vegetables to cool slightly and then cut into medium size pieces (1 1/2-2″). Toss the vegetables (beets, leeks, garlic), along with any pan juices into a stock pot. Add bay leaf, thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest and cover with broth. Gently simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender. Remove the bay leaf and the thyme stalk. Toss in butter (if using) working in batches, whirl the soup in a blender or food processor, until smooth. If it becomes too thick, add a bit more broth (or water). Pour into clean stockpot as your batches reach your desired consistency. If you wish for smooth and silky soup, push the blended soup through a fine sieve. Add pepper and taste for seasoning. Serve hot with a dollop of creme fraiche stirred through.