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[Photograph: Alex Farnum]

Russell Edgington was (or is? did Bill and Eric finally vanquish him?) one of my favorite characters in True Blood. Ruthless, power-hungry, and just straight-up creepy, he made for much more entertaining watching than waffling Bill or helpless Sookie.

In true Russell fashion, the Beautifully Broken Bisque in the True Blood cookbook (attributed to the vampire king) is gruesomely reminiscent of deeply red coagulating blood, perfect for a cool Halloween evening. But even if you're not looking for a blood-stained dinner, the bisque's root vegetable base is seasonally appropriate. Pureed beets make up the bulk of the soup (adding color and ever-so-chunky texture), but are balanced with a modest amount of carrots, onion, and lemon juice. Russell serves the soup garnished with English rose petals in honor of his lost love, Talbot, but I like a generous dollop of sour cream.

Why I picked this recipe: This soup legit looks like blood. And beets are a panacea for all of that sugar I'm gonna eat on Halloween, right?

What worked: Just like the Bloody Mary, this soup was a snap to throw together, and the final outcome was a perfect balance between the earthiness of the root vegetables and the bright lemon juice.

What didn't: Nothing. This here is a killer vegetable bisque. (And yes, you can call a pureed veggie soup a "bisque," in case you're wondering.)

Suggested tweaks: If you're not going for the bloody look, you could certainly mix and match root vegetables here: turnips, parsnips, and potatoes would all work. Just swap out some of the beets for your root of choice (keeping the total amount close to 4 cups).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of True Blood to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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