I often cook from recipes, but sometimes I just make stuff up. Never in my younger days would I do that. It’s come from practice and confidence. Of course family cooking (pasta sauce, artichokes, breaded chicken) were always done from memory and by ‘feel’.
Last May, I had some baby beets and made this soup. It’s an interpretation of borscht and other root vegetable soups that I’ve enjoyed. The friend to whom I served it exclaimed “you must put this in the Crozet Gazette!” So here you are, from memory:
- 1 quart chicken (or vegetable) stock
- 1 lb small, fresh beets
- Salted water for cooking the beets
- 1 small onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp fresh dill
Wash the beets and remove the tops, but leave the skins on. Then boil the beets in salted water until tender. Cooking time will depend on the size of the beet. Drain and allow the beets to cool; the skins will slip off easily.
Coarsely chop the beets and add to the stock, along with the onion, salt, and celery. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the onion and celery are soft, about 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender, or a standard blender to emulsify the soup. If using a standard blender, be very careful, blending the soup in small batches, because hot soup in a blender can become explosive! After the soup is completely blended, stir in the heavy cream and serve with a sprinkle of dill.
As with pasta, I believe that all soups should be served hot (I know, a personal preference, but I find cold soups, as well as macaroni salad, to be an anathema). But, if you’re the kind of person who likes cold soups, go for it. Makes 4 servings.