Monday, September 26, 2011

beet and smoked sausage soup

An excess of farmer's market beets in your fridge and a large quantity of Hungarian salami in your freezer? This recipe can help you out. Or am I the only person who every has that problem? It seems near constant.

This recipe is from the Canadian Living test kitchen, but it's definitely the kind of hearty, spicy food that pulls at my Eastern European heartstrings. It also appeals to my weird obsession with food that is not food-colored (in this case, dark magenta and bright orange). Unfortunately none of my photos turned out very well, but trust me when I say that this soup is as pretty as it is delicious. And completely capable of staining through three layers of clothing. So wear black when you make it. And eat it.

5-8 medium-sized beets
2 tablespoons butter
2 ribs celery, diced
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried dill
6-8 ounces smoked spicy sausage, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
juice from one large lemon
1 stalk fresh rosemary, if you have it on hand
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Rinse and scrub the beets clean, and trim off any dangling ends. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil, and wrap in tinfoil. Place the packets on a baking sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes, or until they're tender enough for a dinner knife to sink in without much pressure. Cool for twenty minutes or so, then slide/cut off the skins (under running water is easiest and cleanest) and dice. Set aside.

Melt the butter over medium heat in the bottom of your thick-bottomed soup pot and cook the celery, onion, carrots, dill, salt, and pepper until softened (about seven or eight minutes). Add the sausage and cook for another three minutes or so. Add the potatoes and beets and cook for another minute. 

Slowly pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the rosemary (wrap it in cheesecloth if you don't want bits floating around in your soup) and simmer for 45 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and serve with rice, barley, or oyster crackers.

This stuff is delicious. You could probably even make it vegetarian, but you'd have to do something to compensate for the loss of spice from the sausage. I'd probably throw in some of the hot red peppers we use for paprikás, and add another tablespoon or two of butter for thickness.

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