Earthy and woodsy, filling yet vegetal, cream of beet soup with rosemary is both a fresh take on Polish holiday food and warming all-purpose winter fare. Made with water instead of stock, it is easy to prepare and boasts clean flavors that marry well with a garnish of olive-oil croutons seasoned with garlic and rosemary. Other tasty possible toppings include roasted or sautéed potatoes or yams, as well as raw apples or pears, chopped and dressed lightly with cider vinegar or lemon juice and fruity olive oil.
You can download the recipe, but be warned it’s po polsku. If Polish isn’t your thing, here’s a summary: Soften a small onion or a couple of shallots in olive oil, along with the finely minced leaves of one stem of rosemary (about 1 tsp, which is plenty). Add a smashed clove of garlic, making sure nothing is browning. Now add three medium beets and one medium potato, peeled and in chunks, enough water to cover and at least a half-teaspoon of salt. Cook at a steady simmer, until the vegetables yield to a fork. Season the soup with salt, pepper and lemon juice or cider vinegar to taste. When it cools a bit, transfer to a free-standing blender or blend carefully using an immersion blender. Add water by the tablespoon to reach the desired consistency and adjust seasoning as required. When ready to eat, heat only what you need: beets lose their gorgeous color when reheated willy-nilly. Serve with swirls of cream or drizzles of olive oil, making sure to include chunky toppings of croutons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, smoked fish, chopped fruit or crumbled cheese if you’ve opted for a one-course meal.
For those here to read about more than the food, I have a bit to explain. For instance, how I fantasized about the iconic cookware line by Ole Palsby, designed in 1979 for Eva Solo, years before I ever allowed myself the indulgence. And then, once I finally had my chosen selection of pots and ingeniously flat lids, how I immediately proceeded to ruin one of the brand-new snow white soup pots with my metal-tipped immersion blender. As it turned out, the ceramic coating, although excellent in countless ways, doesn’t withstand abuse from metal utensils. After some deliberating, I decided to replace two of the White Line stockpots with sturdy stainless equivalents—which also offer slightly more responsiveness with an induction cooktop.
I am thrilled with the design and functionality of my pots, saucepans and those ingeniously flat, stackable, game-changing lids. I am, of course, more cautious than I had planned to be with the saucepan surfaces, but the extra care is well worth the advantages of a blank canvas for the food as it cooks, with true non-stick functionality and outstanding heat transfer. I have a feeling I won’t be able to resist adding to my collection of award-winning cookware.