Our dear friend, Pam Brown, the founder and former long-time owner of the Garden Café on the Green in Woodstock, New York, used to make this beet soup in summer. It was a favorite of ours and with the gorgeous beets in our gardens these days, we are thrilled she is willing to share it with us. Serve it chilled on these hot summer days and enjoy it again in winter as a warm soup.

“Recipes are really just guidelines,” says Pam. “There are many factors that you may or may not have control over. For example, some beets or oranges might be naturally sweeter than others. Make changes to suit your own taste. When I write a recipe, I tend to be in the middle of the seasoning profile even though I personally might use more. I actually prefer the OJ concentrate because it is more consistent in flavor and stronger.”

Equipment

1 2-quart soup pot with lid

1 rubber spatula

Blender

Whisk

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons organic safflower or canola oil (never use non-organic canola)

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pounds red beets (about 3 medium beets), peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces

¼ teaspoon salt

4 cups of water or vegetable stock

⅓ cup vegan sour cream (we like Tofutti)

1teaspoon fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)

1 heaping tablespoon frozen orange concentrate or ½ cup juice from 1 large orange

 

Method

Warm oil in the soup pot on medium low heat and stir in the onions and garlic. Sauté for about 2 minutes until the onions are translucent. Mix in the beets and combine well making sure that all of the beets are coated with the oil. Sprinkle in the salt, stir and turn the heat to low. Cover with the lid and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the water, bring to a boil and cover again, turning the heat down to a medium simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the beets are very tender.

Add the cooked beets in two batches to a blender. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Return to the soup pot and whisk in the sour cream, dill and orange juice. Add the salt and pepper to taste. You can add more of any of the above ingredients to spike up the flavor.

 

Notes

  • A suggestion as to how to purée the soup: Hot liquids rise and can spill out of the blender. You can let the beet soup cool down before blending or you can remove the center part of the blender’s lid, put a folded towel over the opening, holding it firmly with your hand, and blend. The towel adds air to the blender and prevents expansion. I always use an oven mitt as well, however, just to be on the safe side.
  • There are many variations on this recipe. Sometimes I add 1 cup of coconut milk and 3 cups of stock instead of the water to add a delicious rich flavor.
  • You could eliminate the dill and add curry spices in the beginning when you are sautéing the beets.
  • For a gorgeous presentation, like the photo, pour the soup into individual serving bowls. Put ¼ cup sour cream into a squeeze bottle with ½ teaspoon of water and shake. Squeeze a spiral design on the surface of the soup. With a toothpick or tip of a knife, cut through the circles to create the lovely effect you see here.