'True Blood's Beautifully Broken Bisque

[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.

Reprinted with permission from True Blood by Gianna Sobol and Alan Ball with Karen Sommer Shalett. Recipes by Marcelle Bienvenu. Copyright 2012. Published by Chronicle. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

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'True Blood's Beautifully Broken Bisque

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4 to 6
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour
This recipe appears in: 'True Blood's Beautifully Broken Bisque

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 3 or 4 medium beets, trimmed, peeled, and diced (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream, for serving (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the beets and carrots and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the broth, water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and simmer until the beets are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

  2. 2

    Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Using an immersion blender, blend until pureed. (The mixture can also be puréed, in batches, in a food processor.)

  3. 3

    Serve warm, garnishing each bowl with a spoonful of sour cream, if you wish.

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