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Author Notes: This soup is inspired by borscht and uses whole beets, roots, stems, leaves, and all! It's sweet with a garlic kick and spiced with cumin. —Betacyanin
- 1/2 - 1 bunches young beets (about 1lb root, 1 cup chopped stems, 1 cup chopped leaves)
- 1 tablespoon cooking fat or oil
- 3 shallots or small cooking onions
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 liters meaty stock, beef or pork is ideal
- 1/2 cup dry french (puy) lentils
- salt, lemon juice, sugar, to taste
- sour cream for garnish (optional)
- To prepare beets, trim, peel, and coarsely grate the beet roots. Then separate the stems from the leaves and chop separately.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the fat or oil. Saute onions and garlic with a few pinches of salt until very soft, add cumin and cook another few minutes. Add tomato paste and a few tbsp. of the stock, combine and cook for another few mintes. Add the grated beet roots and carrots and saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Add lentils and beet stems. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until lentils are cooked through.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice. Taste the soup again and if necessary, add sugar, a couple of teaspoons at a time until the soup tastes balanced with a hint of sweetness. It doesn’t take a lot of sugar, but makes a huge difference.
- Add chopped beet greens and stir to wilt. Serve hot with sour cream.