French in a Flash: Roasted Beet Soup with Thyme, Lemon, and Crème Fraîche

French In A Flash

Quick and easy recipes that prove that great French food doesn't require a tall hat and a fancy kitchen.


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

Right now, in my current home of London, it's decidedly cold. Cold in that surprising way, where you wake up and get out of the shower, chilly, and think, "Is it really late October already?"

It's soup time. Time to armour myself with something warm and intensely healthy that will ward off colds and the cold, in just one pot.

I think of beets as French probably because my mom has always been a beet devotee, juicing them for me as a kid, slicing them into salads, and roasting them alongside anything that goes in the oven. So it was with happy nostalgia that I made this simple soup: beets roasted simply with a little olive oil and salt until they are soft with caramelized edges, simply puréed with softened leeks, fresh woodsy thyme, vegetable broth, and the squirt of lemon that balances their sweetness. The soup is hot and smooth, like intensely red drinkable velvet. I stir in a spoon of crème fraîche to calm the heat, color, and intensity of soup, and give it a creamy lushness. Serve with a torn hunk of baguette, and you have the perfect fall soup.

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