Monday, August 3, 2009

Bi-Colored Borscht

Bored with beets? In this recipe, thick purees of red and golden beets (freshly yanked specimens are shown here) are swirled together in a cool, visually stunning soup. For a third color, I like to also puree the greens. Serves six to eight.


About 6 young beets
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Yogurt or sour cream, for serving (optional)


4 cups beet greens and other greens, such as chard
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

For both the red and golden borschts, cut the beet tops from the roots and set aside. Peel the roots if the skins are tough. Halve the smaller ones and quarter the larger ones to ensure even cooking. Steam the roots until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper, and the cucumber, parsley, basil, cilantro, cumin, lemon juice, and salt. Puree until smooth. Pour into separate bowls and refrigerate.

For the optional green puree, rinse the leaves well, discarding any that are yellowed or damaged, and supplement with other greens if necessary to make 4 packed cups. Sauté the onion, pepper strips, and garlic in oil. Transfer to the blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Pour into a second bowl, and refrigerate.

The borscht is ready to assemble when chilled. Carefully spoon the colored portions into each soup bowl, keeping a clear edge between them using a flexible scraper as you pour. Straight edges between the two or three colors are easiest. You might also try a yin yang pattern. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream in the center of each bowl if you wish.

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