I seem to always have beets around lately. I had a failed attempt at pickled beets. But the pickled turnips were a success. They used a beet, but only one. That left me with the rest of a bunch to use. As much as I love the roasted beet plus goat cheese combo, I wanted to try something different. (And I didn’t want to turn on the oven.) I started thinking of other dishes made with beets. Borscht! It’s been on my list of foods to make for a while now. Since it is summer, I thought a chilled borscht was in order.
- 1 1/2 pounds beets
- 1 medium-large onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 6 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- sea salt
- kefir, sour cream, or plain yogurt (for garnish)
- hard boiled eggs (for garnish)
- chilled boiled potatoes (for garnish)
- extra lemon wedges (for garnish)
- Wash and peel the beets. Shred using a box grater or food processor.
- Heat a medium-large pot over medium heat. Film the bottom of the pot with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the beets and the water or stock to the pot. (If using water, add a couple large pinches of salt.) Increase heat to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until beets are completely tender, 45 minutes to an hour.
- Remove from heat and stir in dill and lemon juice. Allow pot to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
An optional fifth step would be to skim any hardened fat off of the soup after it’s cooled. You can certainly skip the chilling step and serve the soup hot if you prefer.
In case some of you are not interested in soup, even if it is chilled, I also made a raw beet and fennel salad.
Raw Beet Fennel Salad:
- 3/4 pound beets
- 1/4 pound fennel (bulb only), plus snipped fennel fronds for garnish
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- Wash and peel the beets. Shred the beets and fennel using a box grater or food processor. Place in a large mixing bowl. Zest lemon over mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Whisk well. Pour over beet/fennel mixture. Season liberally with salt. Toss well.
- Salad can be served immediately or allowed to marinate.
I used golden beets as I thought they’d make a pretty sunshine-y salad. What I had not anticipated is that the longer you let the salad marinate, the more the beets lose their color and turn an ugly brown-gray color. If you’re going to use golden beets, I’d suggest serving shortly after the salad is made. Or you could make the salad with red beets, and I think you’d have less of an issue with the color fading.
So go find yourself some beets. While many people think of them as a cold weather food, they are in season right now. You’ll probably have better chances of finding the smaller, more tender ones. If you don’t have issues with firing up the oven, you could also try this Beet Salad with Almonds I posted forever ago. Or make a roasted beet and goat cheese salad. ;)