I did it right this time, guys! I made soup with summer’s most glamorous produce. I stuck it in the fridge. I lived life for a few hours. And then, I had a beautiful, fresh, cool lunch. No sweating, no hot flashes, no mirages of fridges sitting in the desert.
“Do you want a cookie, Danguole?” Good question! It’s ok, though. I’ve been preemptively eating them my whole life just in case I do something awesome.
I guess this would be the “other” cold, bright pink beet soup–the one that isn’t summer borscht (which is 100% most likely my favorite Lithuanian dish). Summer borscht is chunky, not smooth, and leans on the fresher side of things, with loads of cucumber and dill. This has beet and tangy cultured dairy going on, but it’s more about the pureness of earthy beet. A variation on a theme for those who, for some reason I can’t fathom but will still accept, don’t like cucumber and dill.
I also thought about calling this beet vichyssoise, actually, because it is basically the classic French vichyssoise–creamy potato and leek soup, served chilled. But, there are no potatoes (and no cream for that matter) to be found here. And also, I can never remember how many s-es are in “vichyssoise,” so there’s that.
Didn’t skimp on the butter, though. You can–any fat that will give those leeks a nice little saute bath will be just lovely.
Beets take forever to cook, but it’s ok. Forty minutes is the ideal amount of time to make some horseradish croutons, decide they’re not horseradish-y enough, and make a second batch while snacking on the first. Potatoes would not have been as thoughtful.
Don’t tell anybody, but the first croutons were just fine.
You know what is F-I-N-E, though?
The whole thing, all together, with extra croutons on the side. (And this other random beet for dessert, yeah? Not so much? Ok.)
I’d tell you to come over for lunch immediately, but take your time. What am I gonna do, threaten that your soup’s getting cold? Ha. Even half-soggy croutons have their own appeal. I’ll see ya when I see ya!
- 2 large leeks
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 large beets, peeled and diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt (Fage 2% used here)
- 1/2 cup milk (unsweetened almond milk used here)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Additional yogurt, thinned out with milk if desired, for garnish
- Chopped chives and/or dill, for garnish
- 2 cups bread cubes
- 1-2 tablespoons (depending on how much you like horseradish) horseradish
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cut off the roots and dark green parts of the leeks. Slice each of the white/pale green parts lengthwise, and wash leeks thoroughly to get rid of any dirt hiding between the layers. Dry off and slice into 1-inch pieces.
- Heat the butter on medium-high heat in a large pot on the stove. When melted, add leeks and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the diced beets and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to low and simmer until beets are tender, about 40 minutes. (This is a good time to make the croutons--see below for directions.)
- Remove soup from heat and puree in a blender or food processor (be careful when pureeing hot liquids). Return to pot.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt and milk, then slowly whisk in about a cup of the soup to temper the mixture so it doesn't curdle. Whisk this mixture into the pot.
- Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large container, cover, and chill.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine horseradish and olive oil in a small bowl. Spread out the bread cubes on a baking sheet, then drizzle horseradish mixture over them. Use your hands to coat the bread cubes thoroughly.
- Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Remove and cool.
- Serve chilled soup topped with additional yogurt, fresh chives and/or dill, and croutons.