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Dinner Tonight: Squash and Apple Soup with Beet and Bacon

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I like summer and all, but when the leaves start changing and the weather cools, I start getting uncontrollably hungry. This can cause problems. Like, say, when I get back from the store with just about every fall vegetable known to man, convincing myself that it's totally reasonable to add each and every one of them into the same pot of soup. Luckily, my better sense came through, and I edited the soup down to a delicata squash (another type of winter squash would also work) and apple soup. Sounds great, right? But then I looked over at the counter and a bunch of beets were looking at me, begging to find a way in.

Though I could have just tossed them in, I knew it would change the color from a gorgeous autumnal gold to a muddy red. But what if I could add the beets separately at the end? Along with sweetness, the chopped up beets would also add some much needed texture to the blended soup.

Thing is, beets take a long time to roast whole. Though not a huge deal, I wanted to see if I could get the cooking time under half an hour. Cutting the beets into wedges and then roasting them helped tremendously. But I also took some guidance from Barbara Kafka's Vegetable Love. She recommends, of all techniques, microwaving: "When baked, the beets retain a maximum of color and flavor. Microwave cooking achieves the same effect rapidly and with almost no mess." I understand that some of you wouldn't dream of opening up your microwaves, so I've included both recipes so you can decide.

The result is everything I wanted. The blended soup is tart and creamy, while the beets add a pop of color and some much needed sweetness. Bacon lends some meatiness, while the drizzle of yogurt (or sour cream) adds tang.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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