Thursday, December 19, 2013

Seasonal Eats

I try to keep my grocery shopping and diet in line with seasonal, local ingredients whenever possible. Summer and autumn may seem like the most exciting seasons for fresh produce, but I personally love winter! Winter is harvest time for cruciferous and root vegetables that I absolutely love, like brussel sprouts, kale, and beets. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of delicious veggies are available at this time of year. Below is a recipe for a super simple, super yummy beet soup that will warm (and fill) you up on the coldest of days.

I came up with this yummy creation yesterday, while experimenting with some Japanese black garlic I had bought. Black garlic is fermented and delicious, with a mild roasted garlic flavor and the sweetness of molasses. It can make an amazing salad dressing or aioli, or in this case, add tangy, earthy notes to round out my soup.

Roasted & Spiced Beet Soup

1 medium (3.5") beet, peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
1 red onion, quartered
1 bell pepper, red or yellow, sliced into 1" thick strips
2 cloves raw garlic, sliced thinly
2 cloves black garlic (optional- substitute w/ 1 tsp molasses)
cumin (I toasted and ground whole seeds, but powdered is OK if it is fresh)
chili powder
turmeric (optional - I added this for health benefits, not necessarily for flavor)
chili flakes (optional - I like a little spice in everything!)
olive oil

Place all of your vegetable, except garlic, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil just enough to coat all vegetables evenly when mixed together, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, or until beets are caramelized (shown below). Check on them frequently, as the peppers and onions may burn around the edges. If you need to turn the oven heat down to 350 to prevent burning, do so; the roasting will simply take longer.

Remove veggies from oven and transfer to large pot on stove.
If you are using whole spices, toast and grind 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds with 1 tsp chili powder, pepper flakes, peppercorns, sea salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric. If using ground spices, mix all together in ramekin or other small dish for easy addition to the soup.
Add 1/2 of your spice mixture to the vegetables and toss with  a wooden spoon to coat evenly. Over low heat, saute the vegetables while adding the raw and black garlic.
Once the aroma of the garlic begins to bloom, add filtered water the top of the vegetables. Do not completely submerge - some tips and ends of the veggies should be poking out of the water.
Cover and let simmer over low medium heat until the beets are fork tender. Taste the broth after about 10 minutes and add the remaining spices, or additional salt/pepper, to taste.
Once everything is well incorporated and cooked through, remove from heat and prepare to blend.
I used a stick (submersible) blender, but the blending could also take place in a high-powered blender or food processor, though the soup will have to be left to cool first before blending.
Try to use a deep pot for the blending, or you will be painting your kitchen walls beet red!
Blend until it is a creamy, thick soup without lumps. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water, if some liquid evaporated in the cooking process.
Garnish with fresh parsley, sour cream, or horseradish cream (sour cream or yogurt with horseradish mixed in).
Bon apetit!

Let me know if you tried and enjoyed this recipe, or if you have any other seasonal recipes you'd like to share, in the comments or by emailing me at!

1 comment :

  1. This sounds so delicious! I love a good hearty soup. I wish I weren't such a clumsy person- any time I cook beets I stain my whole dang kitchen!

    Ladyface Blog


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