I am sad to admit that it wasn't until a year or so ago that I had ever tried beets. I can't say I have an exact reason why, but they are one of my favorite foods now and I have Jon's mom to thank for it. She prepared a beet salad one night before dinner and it was absolutely delicious. This past weekend we took a visit to the farmers market to get some fresh ingredients. We had no agenda, but upon arrival we saw abundant beets and quickly realized that we needed to cook something for dinner with beets in it. Sadly, we didn't have our own produce growing this year due to our upcoming move. Alas, it's nice to support local growers, and the quality of the produce is incomparable. We had such a fun time getting creative with this dish last night. I decided I wanted to do bread bowls for mine because you can't have beet soup without some bread to eat it with. Why not serve it in a bowl that you can eat? Jon used some of my left over dough to make bread sticks to go with his vegetarian version of this soup and we ended up with 2 delicious meals that were very different looking but tasted great. Beets are high in beta carotene and are a great source of antioxidants. For those of you who don't want to destroy your healthy skin by tanning, eating these wonderful root vegetables regularly will give you a great complexion without damaging your skin. This is a simple but delicious recipe. I can promise you that you've never tried anything like it. It may look like a small meal, but you will absolutely be full before finishing, and have no room left for dessert. For those of you who want an earthy, sweet meal, this recipe will prove itself worthy of your time. We like to add a bit of spice to give it an interesting twist by using ground clove and fennel. This is optional, but highly recommended. For a vegetarian version, just substitute the chicken stock for veggie stock. Enjoy!
Recipe: Beet Soup Bread Bowls
- 3 beets
- 2 T butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp clove
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 T yeast
- 1 T sugar
- 1 tsp cornmeal
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp warm water
- 1 tsp cream
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Add all of the ingredients for the bread bowls, except the cornmeal, to your mixer, and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes. Add more water by the teaspoon as needed until dough combines and is not sticky. Work dough into a ball, coat with oil and wrap in a plastic bag to rise. I like to let mine rise in a sunny window.
- Preheat oven to 400. Place foil over a baking sheet, and using a knife or fork puncture the surfaces of the beets and carrot. Coat them in oil and roast for 50 minutes, or until easily penetrated with the tip of a knife. Place in a colander and cool under running water. Peel carrot and beets and set aside.
- The bread bowls will cook at 400 degrees, so if your timing is right, you can pop them in right after the beets finish roasting. Remove the dough from the plastic bag, and divide into 2 equal balls. Form them into tight balls without completely flattening them. Sprinkle cornmeal over a piece of tinfoil or parchment and place the balls on top of the cornmeal to cover the bottom of the bowls. Cover with plastic and allow them 30 minutes to rise again. Keeping them somewhere warm will help them rise faster.
- Dissolve butter in a small stock pot. Dice onion and saute until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add diced garlic and saute for 2 more minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover pot with lid.
- Crack an egg in a small bowl, add 2 tsp water, and whisk. This will be used to coat the top of your bread bowls when they are halfway through cooking. Once the bread has risen a desirable height, place them in the oven and cook for 30 - 40 minutes. After about 15 - 20 minutes, open oven and coat the tops and sides liberally with the egg mixture. This will help give it a great crust. Keep an eye on the bread while cooking to avoid burning. Remove from oven to cool.
- Dice beets, carrot, and celery and add to stock pot. Cover and allow to boil for 20 - 30 minutes, add more chicken stock if needed.
- Remove mixture from heat and pour it into a food processor or blender. I use my blender because it's glass and won't melt. Puree mixture a minute or two until combined. If using a blender be careful to hold down the lid when blending.
- Taste a small sample of the mixture and add salt and pepper as needed. Some people prefer no salt, but I like to add a little.
- For the optional but recommended spices use a coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle, and grind up the clove and fennel seeds. Add to mixture in the blender and blend to combine.
- To hollow out the bread bowls, use a knife to cut a circle in the top. Remove the top piece and save to eat with your meal. Reach into the bread bowls with your fingers and pull out as much of the inside as you want.
- Pour beet mixture into the bowls, and garnish with a dash of cream and a pinch of nutmeg. You can even use unsweetened whipped cream if you have it. Serve hot or cold.
Number of servings (yield): 2