29 December 2008
Wellness in a Bowl
There's something about beets--their rustic, earthy appearance, the vibrant color and subtle sweetness they develop when cooked, and, most importantly, they have an array of health benefits, to boot. Not only are beets are a good source of iron, they also contain vitamin C, which, among other things, helps our bodies absorb iron.
And, of course, one of my favorite things about beets: their earthy sweetness goes deliciously well with the hearty taste of fresh rye bread.
In fact, rye bread is what started it all. The other day, as my Hearty Rye Bread loaf was baking in the oven, and the kitchen smelled warm and sweet, I felt inspired to make an equally warm and wonderful soup, using the flavors of beets, orange and cranberry. Like beets, fresh cranberries are packed with nutrients (vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and vitamin K, to name a few), and they are (still, although barely) in season. The cranberries also add a little tartness that compliments the sweetness of the orange juice, creating a delicious soup with several layers of flavor.
In the photo at the top, I topped the soup with a bit of tarragon (which makes everything taste better, in my opinion). The next day when I was eating leftovers, I also added some golden raisins and sunflower seeds, and I think that added so much to the recipe. The raisins add a simple sweetness that compliments the tartness of the cranberries, and the texture of the nuts and seeds makes the soup much more interesting.
Cranberry Beet Soup:
3 whole beets, tops removed and cleaned thoroughly, roughly chopped
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 handfuls fresh cranberries
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt to taste
sunflower seeds, golden raisins, and fresh tarragon for serving
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over the stove; add the onions and cook until they begin to sweat, then add the caraway seeds and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. Add the beets and cranberries and then the orange and pomegranate juices. Add enough water to barely cover everything and simmer until the beets are tender (depending on how large you chopped your beets, about 30 minutes). Wait until cooled and then blend in a blender until smooth. Sprinkle the tops with tarragon, sunflower seeds and golden raisins.