Beet Orange Soup
This is one of those soups you can enjoy piping hot on a chilly afternoon or chilled on a hot evening and either way it’s spectacular. Just the beautiful hue alone is cheery for the soul, which I love on dreary days. This soup subdues the soft sweetness of the beets and kicks up their heartiness and richness with fragrant spices and the liveliness of fresh orange. Each bite begins with the earthiness of beets and moves into flavorful layers of garlic and ginger, roasted shallots, and bright orange with a gentle kick of heat from the jalapeno, all tied together with the creaminess of the coconut milk. Most of the time for this recipe is spent waiting for the beets and shallots to roast, about an hour, but they can roast side by side. While they cool you can saute garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and orange zest together before blending everything together with orange juice, coconut milk and vegetable stock and letting simmer thereafter. The total preparation time is around 1 hour, 45 minutes, only about 30 minutes of which is active.
Roasted Beet Orange Soup
2 pounds beets (7-10 medium beets)
1/4 pound shallots (2-3 medium shallots)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1-2 tablespoons minced jalapeno, depending on heat preference
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup coconut milk
3 cups vegetable stock
soup garnishes: coconut milk, olive oil, roasted pumpkin seeds, mint
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Slice off the beet leaves or what is left of the beet stems about a quarter inch from the tip of the beet. Give the beets a good scrub then place them in a baking dish. Add about a quarter inch water to the dish and set aside.
Slice the top tips off the shallots, leaving the bases and skins intact. Place the shallots on a large piece of foil, bunch them together and drizzle their exposed tops with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Wrap the foil around the shallots to create a sealed pouch. Place the shallots and the dish of beets in the preheated oven. Roast the shallots and the beets side by side in the oven for 50-60 minutes, until the shallots are incredibly tender and the beets are very easily penetrated with a fork. Remove each from the oven when done roasting and let cool.
While the roasted shallots and roasted beets are cooling, bring a small skillet to medium high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno. Sauté on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Lower the heat as needed to prevent excessive browning. Add the orange zest and sauté for another minute. Season with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and remove from heat.
Once the shallots are cool, slip them out of their skins, discard the skins, and set them aside. Next, peel away the cooled beets from their skins. The beet juice will temporary stain your skin, so wear gloves if you prefer and be careful not to get the juice on your clothing. Place the roasted beets in a bowl with the shallots. Add the sautéed garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and orange zest to the bowl.
Transfer everything to a blender or large food processor. If using a smaller food processor, blend in batches. Blend on high and steam in the orange juice, coconut milk and vegetable stock while blending. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the soup to a large stock pot and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes and serve the soup hot. The soup is also incredible cold, enjoy both ways. Garnish the soup with a drizzle of coconut milk, olive oil, roasted pumpkin seeds and fresh mint leaves. Enjoy leftovers within 5-7 days.