12 October 2012

recipe: magenta winter soup

Know how beets have that beety taste?*  And how it's practically impossible to get around?  This soup solves that problem.  It's super yummy AND healthy - comfort food with a twist.  Many of the veggies are optional and/or can be substituted with other things.  But don't mess with the best: roasted garlic is the key.

Well.  I mean.  What ISN'T roasted garlic the key to?

A raise, it turns out.  Back to the drawing board on that one.

Magenta Winter Soup
GF - 75  minutes

Olive oil
1 bulb garlic
1 large yellow onion
3 large tomatoes (I used green tomatoes)
1 bulb kohlrabi
2 bell peppers
1 large or 2 small winter squash, peeled and seeded
2 large or 3 small beets, peeled
5c water
1c brown rice
1 can white beans (navy or cannellini), drained and rinsed
2T fresh or 2t dried rosemary
2T fresh or 2t dried sage
2t fennel seeds
Salt to taste
Juice of half a lemon
Few dashes freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Toss your rice and 2 cups of water into a saucepan with a little oil and salt and bring to a boil.  Once bubbling, turn down the heat and let that do its thing at a simmer for 50 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the water and become food.

While the rice is going, dress down your squash and beets.  Cut them into pieces no bigger than the palm of your hand, and yes, please do take depth into consideration.  If you have olive oil in a spray bottle, where have you been all my life?  Spray those suckers down on one of your baking sheets.  If not, brush or sprinkle the oil on.  You want a little on each piece, but not so much you have puddles on your parchment paper.  Adorn with a bit of salt, and throw them in the oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the rest of your veggies; get the onion, tomatoes, kohlrabi and bell peppers pared down to skinny bits that'll cook through quickly.  The shape doesn't matter - you'll puree them later.  Give these guys the same treatment with oil and salt across your other two baking sheets.

Grab your garlic.  Peel off as many of the papery layers as you can without tearing the cloves off the bulb, then chop the very top off.  You want to expose the tips of the cloves, so if you wind up slicing into them a bit that's fine.  Pour a little olive oil over the top of the bulb and wrap in tin foil, then place it on one of your baking sheets.  Stick both veggie-loaded sheets in the oven.  15 minutes.

Your squash and beets come out here - remove them from the oven and flip them, then place them back in for 30 minutes.

Do the same for your peppers, onion, garlic, tomato, and kohlrabi when they're ready, and put them in for 15 more minutes.  Now they should be done at about the same time as the beets and squash; if not, you can fudge a little and use one timer for both anyway.

While everybody's jamming in the oven, you can finely chop your fresh herbs, if using, and get your beans ready.  Your rice is probably done by now.  You can give it a stir.  Stare at it.  Stare at your cat, who's obviously on top of the fridge.  Stare to your heart's content.  Poke her cute little face.  Tell her she's the best little potato who ever meowed, yes you are!  Yes you are!  You have down time.  Yes you do!

When your timer goes off, check to see if any of your veggies are done.  The squash and beets will take the longest, but you put 'em in first, you clever chef.  They should give easily when you try to slice them in half with your turner.  Flip sufficiently squishy squash and beets into a large pot if you have an immersion blender; a food processor if you don't.  The garlic will be done, so take that out, unwrap the foil, and let it cool a little.  The peppers should collapse under their own weight and look like their skin's too big; the onions should be soft and almost translucent; and the tomatoes should have dried up a little.  The kohlrabi'll start looking translucent, too, and get soft.  If done, those bad boys go in the pot with the squash and beets.  If anybody needs to go back into the oven, give them 10 minutes at a time.

When you can handle the garlic without wanting to die, squeeze or unwrap each clove into the pot.  They'll be soft and easy to manage.  You are going to LOVE the way they make your soup taste.  There's a reason the Maori tribe invented garlic and began roasting it under giant magnifying glasses.

Once all the veggies are set and steaming up your pot, dump 3 cups of water in and grab your immersion blender.  Go to town.  Those of you with blenders or food processors instead may have to go in batches.

Set your beautiful magenta puree on the stove and turn the heat on low.  Add the cooked rice, beans, herbs, salt, and pepper.  Once it's achieved a volcano boil, switch off the heat and squeeze in your lemon juice.

Serve garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary and a hunk of good crusty bread.  That's like a million food groups.  Eat your heart out.  It's like the same color as your soup.  COOL.  And that, boys and girls, is how you cook beets.

* Beety taste is actually a technical term, meaning, "I would rather eat celery for the rest of my life."  Unless you're Shelley.


  1. Yeah...I don't have the patience to make this by myself.....but it sounds delicious. Can I bribe you with edamame to come over to my house and.cook it with me????

    1. Hahaha, obviously! You know, every time I go to your house now I'm going to expect edamame.

  2. Kay lets plan this :) oh and can we go to Korean Restaurant too??? I just read that post and it looks so good! Also...I don't know what taste explosion is from...I think I'm stuck in the 50s or something....

    1. Yes!! Taste explosion is from Love Actually. You know, when Colin (the guy who winds up in Milwaukee) is serving at the wedding near the beginning of the movie, walking around saying things like, "Taste explosion?"

  3. It's still 85 half the time in Houston so I don't foresee making this soon, looks good though!! My favorite thing to do with beets is roast them, then serve them in a cold citrus salad!

    1. Man, I wish I were in Houston. Oh, wait - I WILL BE IN A WEEK! Mm, you and Shelley should talk about beets together. That sounds good, and exactly like something she would do!