Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Roasted Beet and Potato Borscht

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Flipping through this month's issue of Everyday Food, I noticed a great feature: soups based on the caramelizing power of roasting. It's quite a brilliant move, actually, to invigorate the soup repertoire by adding all kinds of flavor to an otherwise boiled dinner. So when I realized I had the basic ingredients sitting in my fridge — two parts beets to one part potatoes, some sprigs of thyme, and good chicken stock — I had a good dinner on the table in under an hour. That cold snap of Autumn had arrived, and warm soup sounded perfect.

The brilliance of this soup, besides the shocking color, is how deeply flavored it is with very little fat (just a few tablespoons needed to coat the chunks of roasted beet and potato). That's all thanks to a hot oven and the complex sweetness of roasted beets (If you're stuck on childhood memories of the pickled stuff, this might change your mind). That, and the roasted vegetables are roughly mashed instead of pureed, leaving the soup rustic and chunky, with a clean-tasting broth unclouded by starch that might be released by pureeing.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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