Mixed Beet Soup
I finally managed to get to the market early enough to get another bunch of mixed beets; this one didn’t have any red ones in it, just the white, pink and yellow. Which might be a reason that the colour came out like it did. I was a bit astonished that no colour whatsoever was visible, and admittedly this soup looks very beige and more like baby food as it’s extremely thick, but it tasted absolutely delicious. I have to honestly say that if I saw this soup somewhere without the bits on top I wouldn’t be tempted to try it due to its colour and consistency, so I’d understand if you said no way from the look of it. Trust me, though, it’s very good!
The thick consistency was on purpose, I could have added more stock but at the first taste I decided I liked it just as it was. It was also clear from the beginning that I’d fry some chopped beets and very thin onion slices to put on top, which was a good plan because that actually brought some colour to the dish. The green stuff you see in the pictures was a last minute addition – pumpkin seed purée, bought on a whim, very delicious, and it went well with the flavours of this soup.
I had a small jar of leftover wheat berries that I decided to add to the soup as well, which gave it some bite. Luckily I started cooking the wheat berries way before I started on the soup because it seemed like they took forever to cook. I think overall cooking time for the wheat was almost an hour. It did serve its intended purpose, though, and gave the soup a bit of bite. I also added a few small potatoes for consistency, don’t know if that was really necessary though.
To season, I used whole cumin seeds, intending to add some powdered cumin later on but it turned out that wasn’t necessary. Once the soup was puréed, the cumin was clearly discernible and it didn’t need more.
As far as quantity goes, I used up 1 bunch – 5 pieces – of beets, and I had a little left over that didn’t fit into the (not so) little soup dish you see here. I ate the contents of the dish for lunch, but I’d say as a starter or together with a sandwich this soup would feed 2.
Mixed Beet Soup
120 g wheat berries
1 bunch mixed beets [2 chioggia, 2 yellow, 1 white]
6 very small potatoes
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
3 tsp raw cane sugar
1 organic vegetable stock cube
1 tsp salt
1 small onion
pumpkin seed purée, optional
Start with cooking the wheat berries as they will take longest. Put in a small pan, cover with water and add ½ a stock cube. Cook until soft, approx. 50 minutes, add more water if required. Once the wheat berries are done [soft-ish with a little bite], drain them and put aside.
Peel the beets, cut into slices, keep ½ a slice of each colour and put aside, and roughly dice the rest. Peel potatoes, put one aside, and dice the rest.
Put the roughly diced beets and potatoes on a small baking tray, sprinkle with cumin seeds, and drizzle with a little olive oil; not too much, you don’t want the veg to swim nor for the oil to collect on the bottom of the tray; mix so all the veg cubes are covered in a little oil. Sprinkle with the cane sugar and drizzle with a little honey; best to use honey from a squeezy bottle in order to add it in a very thin stream across the vegetables. Mix again and put on middle shelf of oven.
Bake at 200°C / 390°F for 10 minutes, turn and mix vegetables, add a drizzle more oil if necessary, bake for another 10 minutes. Repeat and then bake for 5 minutes more. Take out of oven and let sit for a bit.
Place vegetables in a pot (scrape bits that stick off the baking tray and add to pot), add the remaining ½ a stock cube and cover with a little water. Purée with a hand blender as finely as possible. Add 1 tbsp salt, more water if necessary, and bring to a slow boil. [Careful, soup quickly starts bubbling over pot due to its thick consistency.] If you find the consistency is too thick for your liking, add a little more water and maybe season with a little more salt. Before taking off the heat, stir in the wheat berries, keeping 2 tbsp for later.
While the soup heats, peel onion and slice very finely. Cut the beet slices and potato put aside earlier into very fine cubes. Heat olive oil in a small frying pan and slowly fry the onion slices and vegetable cubes until crisp.
Serve the soup with the wheat berries put aside earlier and some of the fried vegetables on top, some pumpkin seed purée if using, and with some fresh bread.