In the kitchen, root vegetables comprise a wide range of dense, unique flavors that stand up to being served plain or being paired with spices, herbs, dairy products, meat and fish, or other vegetables:
- Pickled, they add crunch and sunshiny color to winter meals.
- Roasted, their sugars emerge to produce a lightly sweet glaze.
- Simmered and puréed, they make smooth, creamy soups. Like the one below:
- 2 14.5-oz. cans fire roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1⁄2 T. garlic, minced
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium beets (1 to 11⁄2 lb.), peeled and coarsely grated (or 2, 15-oz. can sliced beets, drained)
- 2 Cups beef or vegetable stock
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1⁄3 cup sour cream
- 2 T. milk
- 2 T. fresh chives or parsley, chopped
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté until onion begins to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beets, stock and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beets become tender (approximately 20 minutes).
Remove from heat and puree the soup in the pan with an immersion blender. Adjust seasonings.
To serve, heat soup over medium heat until hot, but not boiling. Ladle into four individual bowls. Whisk the milk and chives or parsley into the sour cream until smooth and swirl one-quarter of the sour cream mixture over the surface of each bowl of soup. Makes 4-6 servings.