In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill. This post was brought to you by our friends at Evolution Fresh. The ingredients in their Organic V vegetable juice inspired this recipe.
Today: Merrill makes a soup to cool us down as the days heat up -- eat it hot or cold, it's your prerogative.
My father is someone who will happily eat a bowl of soup for lunch most days, year round. And I can't claim the apple fell very far from the tree.
For our honeymoon a few years ago, my husband and I went to Tanzania. It was there, on the dusty, arid plains of the Serengeti, that I came to appreciate a phenomenon I had heard about but had never experienced firsthand: that hot soup and a hot climate can actually complement one another.
This of course flies in the face of one of the vital tenets of the American diet, which insists that hot foods are meant to warm us during the colder months, and cold foods to cool us in the heat of summer.
As the first course at every single lunch and dinner we ate in Africa, we were presented with some kind of hot vegetable soup -- potato, broccoli, cauliflower, yam. They were simple purées, perfectly seasoned and totally delicious. And not once did we break out in a sweat spooning them into our hungry mouths, even though it was 80 degrees and we were usually sitting outside.
It was a lesson I was happy to learn. But it didn't keep me from wondering how all these wonderful soups might taste chilled.
After all, one of the virtues of a puréed vegetable soup is that it can be eaten hot or cold, depending on your mood -- and yes, also on the weather, if you're not yet convinced about the whole hot climate, hot food thing.
With this in mind, I decided to concoct a beet soup for late spring/early summer that is equally good hot or cold. The technique is inspired by this soup by Reeve, which we've all come to love since it won one of our early recipe contests: you roast the vegetables before simmering them briefly in stock; this coaxes out their deepest, sweetest flavors and yields a soup whose complexity is exponentially greater than the effort you've put into it.
I added a hit of lime juice for brightness and to counter the sweetness of the beets and carrots, and a dollop of parsley and lime cream to lend some richness. Eat it hot, eat it cold, even eat it lukewarm if you like -- it's your prerogative.
1 1/2 pounds (about 6 medium) beets
1/2 pound (2 or 3 large) carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups vegetable stock (homemade or low sodium) or water
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large sprigs parsley, leaves finely chopped and stems reserved
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream